Byways 2021: A project of the Scenic Byways Coalition and America’s Byways Resource Center
Sep
29
2006

The Power of Partnerships

It was ten years ago when some of us at Arkansas State University became aware of the National Scenic Byway program and saw an opportunity for a unique partnership with communities in our region to create a win-win situation for everyone. Our idea was that a National Scenic Byway could function as an educational laboratory for the university, while serving as an economic catalyst for communities along the route. We had the perfect candidate for such a byway—an erosional remnant known as Crowley’s Ridge, extending for approximately 200 miles through eight counties in the Eastern Arkansas Delta.

Our vision is to see the potential of this route fully realized by continuing to capitalize on partnerships in the region. Additionally, we believe that the creative partnerships being undertaken around the country will make all our National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads an integral and universally recognized part of the American landscape over the next 15 years. Our vision includes:

  • Partnerships with regional and statewide tourism associations around the country to utilize byways as the spine that links together tourism attractions in our byways regions. By linking attractions together, byways can create the critical mass necessary to draw tourists.
  • Close coordination with colleges and universities in the byways regions. Such partnerships can contribute to the long-term sustainability of byways by tapping into faculty expertise—particularly in areas related to byways’ intrinsic qualities, community and economic development.
  • Partnerships with academic programs at the elementary, secondary, and higher education level to provide classroom enrichment, as well as opportunities for research projects. Our byway, for example, has become an essential component of the Heritage Studies Ph.D. program at Arkansas State University.
  • Partnerships with state historic preservation offices to preserve the historic built environment along our byways and to develop preservation-based economic development strategies. We currently are participating in a three-year Rural Heritage Development Initiative funded by the Kellogg Foundation through the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and we hope to achieve results that can be shared and replicated around the country. Partners include Arkansas Delta Byways, Main Street Arkansas, five Main Street communities in the region, and the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas.
  • Over the next 15 years, we see community successes around the country, where byway status has been used as a catalyst for community development, including inviting entrances to communities along these routes, reinvigorated and thriving downtowns, and empty historic buildings converted to new uses.
  • Perhaps most importantly, we envision that byways around the country can generate greater appreciation for scenic conservation. Many of us risk losing the resources that make our byways unique, and it will require unique partnerships and strategies to ensure that our byway landscapes are available to future generations
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Dr. Ruth A. Hawkins
About the author: Dr. Ruth A. Hawkins is director of Delta Heritage Initiatives at Arkansas State University, which includes responsibilities for development of the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center at Piggott, the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum at Tyronza, and the Lakeport Plantation near Lake Village. She also is Executive Director of Arkansas Delta Byways, Inc., a tourism promotion association serving Eastern Arkansas. The association manages and promotes two National Scenic Byways in the region: the Crowley’s Ridge Parkway and the Arkansas segment of The Great River Road. Arkansas Delta Byways also is a partner in a three-year Rural Heritage Development Initiative, funded by the Kellogg Foundation through the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Read more about Dr. Ruth A. Hawkins


4 Responses to “The Power of Partnerships”

  1. Derrick Crandall Says:

    Ruth has been a pioneer in the national byways program and her vision of strong ties with educational entities really strikes me as important and valuable. Byways can help make studies of history, geology, planning and more comne alive. Ruth’s vision will help make communities understand why they look and operate as they do today — and how they want to look and operated in the future. Maybe we need some academic prizes, or some stipends, for research connected to byways.

  2. Eric J. Hamilton Says:

    I very stongly agree in the power of partnerships. It is most interesting to hear what works in other Byways, but didn’t seem to “catch fire” as our Byway went through the early stages. Such stories of success offer inspiration for us all.

  3. Louretta Wimberly Says:

    I agree strongly in the power of partnerships. Working together works and provide for ideas sharing and opens us up to commoness of purpose and the opportunity help others. Our byways is another way to experience history and at the same time appreciate our beautiful country. The use of student education is a sure to preserve the byways in the future because many will continue philosophy.

  4. Mark Stricherz Says:

    Partnerships are indispensable, but don’t forget to partner with our members–bus operators, hotels, convention and visitors bureaus. After all, we at the American Bus Association attract people to and put them on byways.