Byways 2021: A project of the Scenic Byways Coalition and America’s Byways Resource Center
Nov
21
2006

The National Scenic Byways Program: A Celebration and Look Ahead

Washington, D.C. (November 17, 2006) The National Scenic Byways Program celebrates its 15th anniversary in December and the occasion will be marked in Washington, D.C. with two events on December 11, 2006. “The National Scenic Byways Program: A Celebration and Look Ahead” begins at 1:00 pm at the Stephen Decatur House with welcoming remarks by the Honorable Rick Capka, Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (invited).

A visual history of America’s Byways taking participants “Down the Memory Byway” will be narrated by some of Byways= earliest champions: Sally Pearce, Scenic Byways Program Coordinator for the Colorado Department of Transportation; Kevin Heanue, a retired senior Federal Highway Administration official; and Derrick Crandall, President of the American Recreation Coalition and long-time Chairman of the Scenic Byways Coalition.

John Horsley, President of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) will moderate a panel discussion, “The Value of America’s Scenic Byways Program.” Distinguished guests from key organizations who played central roles in the creation and early direction of the National Scenic Byways Program will recall their initial reasons for supporting the new program and express goals for the program’s future. Panelists will include representatives of Scenic America, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A second panel, moderated by Richard Coon, President of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), will review “Byway Accomplishments“. Panelists will recount Byway’s many milestones, from the number of Byway miles, to a review of the types of projects funded, to the work of the America’s Byways Resource Center and key joint projects, like the See America’s Byways effort. Panelists will include: Michelle Johnson, Executive Director of the America’s Byways Resource Center; Rob Draper, Scenic Byways program lead at the Federal Highway Administration and Dean Reeder, National Tourism Director for the National Park Service.

The afternoon session will conclude with a send-off by two champions of recreation and tourism: the Honorable James Santini of the National Tour Association and Kym Murphy, recently retired from The Walt Disney Company.

The National Scenic Byways Program: A Celebration and Look Ahead continues on Capitol Hill with a reception and awards program at the Rayburn House Office Building beginning at 5:00 pm. A multimedia presentation “America’s Byways: The First 15 Years” will be followed by remarks from U.S. Representative James Oberstar, a key Congressional supporter of the National Scenic Byways Program and expected to become Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in January.

The event will feature Mary Peters, current Secretary of Transportation (invited) and former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta as well as special messages from former Transportation Secretaries who guided the Scenic Byways Program since 1991.

The celebration will conclude with an awards presentation honoring those who have contributed to the dramatic accomplishments of America’s Byways= first 15 years and key byways champions including U.S. Representatives Jim Oberstar and Tom Petri, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller, Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, and former Transportation Secretaries Andrew Card, Frederico Pena, Rodney Slater and Norman Mineta.

For a complete schedule of “The National Scenic Byways Program: A Celebration and Look Ahead” on December 11, 2006, go to http://www.funoutdoors.com/files/Announcement11-17.pdf

Since its creation in December 1991, 126 routes have been designated as National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads and some $300,000,000 has been invested in 2,100 competitively-awarded byways projects in all 50 states by the U. S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration which oversees the program.

A second major element of the 15th Anniversary celebration is the BYWAYS 2021 Blog (http://www.byways2021.org/). Essays by nationally prominent byways supporters who are thinking about opportunities over the next fifteen years are regularly added to the site and readers are encouraged to rate those dreams and add their own twists and insights. The essays explore harnessing new technologies to tell our stories and about byways as key to university geology courses, about ways to blend byways adventures with more physical activity and about better integration of national byways, state and local byways and the road programs of key federal agencies. The collected wisdom of the byways community produced through the Blog will be converted into as report to the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Commission and the Administration.

On Tuesday, May 22, during the 2007 National Scenic Byways Conference, a BYWAYS 2021 Symposium will be held on the future of America’s Byways with national partners aiding in a high-tech, high-touch link-up that will link Baltimore and Washington and allow direct conversations between byways leaders and national figures shaping transportation, recreation, tourism and historic preservation policies. For more information: http://www.bywaysonline.org/

The final BYWAYS 2021 major initiative will be a cooperative effort to greatly augment the information available about successful byways projects and best practices through an Internet-accessible database.

For more information, contact Derrick Crandall, 202-682-9530