U.S. Sen. Collins announces designations of three new National Scenic Byways
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-maine announced that the Federal Highway Administration has designated three new National Scenic Byways in Maine: Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway, St. John Valley (SJV) Cultural/Fish River Scenic Byway and Bold Coast Scenic Byway. Collins sent letters in support of the Maine applications submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s national Scenic Byways Program.
“The National Scenic Byways program represents a true win-win by protecting precious corridors and providing tangible benefits for local communities. Maine’s three previously-designated or existing National Scenic Byways, as well as the Acadia All-American Road, provide Mainers and tourists alike with spectacular views and unforgettable experiences,” Collins said. “The designation of these three new scenic byways will help to spur much-needed economic activity and encourage more people to experience the beauty throughout our state.”
Collins and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland authored the Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act of 2019, which reopened the nomination and designation process for National Scenic Byways. This program had not received any federal funding since 2012, and the last round of designations were made in 2009. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee and the Ranking Member on the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Collins worked to secure $16 million for the National Scenic Byways Program in the fiscal year 2021 funding package. As a result of this newly-appropriated funding, scenic byways will be eligible to apply for grant funding to maintain the roadways; make safety improvements; construct facilities to serve pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers; and develop marketing programs, signage, and other promotional materials.
“Maine’s national scenic byways are important economic development tools for tourism in Maine’s rural areas and have been embraced as important destinations for travelers,” said Maine DOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note. “These new national scenic byway designations will expand tourism opportunities and continue to make Maine a memorable experience for our visitors.”
“The National Scenic Byways Program brings new jobs, tourism, and other benefits to communities along these scenic roads. We are grateful to Senator Collins for her leadership in passing Public Law No. 116-57, The Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act, which made today’s announcement possible,” said Scenic America President Mark Falzone. “We congratulate Bold Coast Scenic Byway, Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway and St. John Valley Cultural/Fish River Scenic Byway on their designation as a National Scenic Byway today and are excited to partner with them as they tap into the program’s benefits.”
“We applaud Senator Collins’ leadership in passing The Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act and securing the designation of Katahdin Woods and Waters National Scenic Byway,” Andrew Bossie, executive director of Friends of Katahdin Woods and Waters. “Together with nearby Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, Baxter State Park, and other beautiful landscapes, this nationally-recognized byway is yet another draw for visitors who wish to experience the unparalleled natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Katahdin region and bring with them economic opportunity for area businesses and residents alike.”
The Katahdin Woods and Waters Scenic Byway stems from a partnership between the Maine Department of Transportation, the Katahdin Tourism Partnership, and the Upper Valley Economic Corporation. The KWWSB showcases key landmarks in the region, including Baxter State Park, Katahdin Area Trails, Penobscot River Trails, the East and West Branch of the Penobscot River and the Katahdin Woods and Water National Monument.
The St. John Valley Cultural/Fish River Scenic Byway is composed of two byways: the St. John Valley Cultural Byway and the Fish River Scenic Byway (two existing state-level scenic byways). The new byway seeks to share its vibrant blend of French heritage with a greater community and help the rural economy in northeastern Maine by attracting visitors to the region. The SJV Cultural Byway is ac ollaboration with the Maine Acadian Heritage Council; the Association Française de la Vallée-St-Jean; Acadian Archives; Aroostook County Tourism; and individual museums, cultural groups, hotels, restaurants and outdoor recreation groups.
The Bold Coast Byway —in coordination with DownEast Acadia Regional Tourism (DART), the Schoodic National Scenic Byway coordination committee, MaineDOT and the Maine Office of Tourism coordination committee—highlights its historic and recreational qualities while seeking to expand accessibility to many sites important to history, including Samuel de Champlain’s first settlement, the first naval battle of the American Revolution, and rivers that once transported Native Americans, European explorers and the “King’s pines.”
Established in 1991, the National Scenic Byways Program recognizes roadways with notable scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational, and archaeological qualities. Scenic America, a national environmental nonprofit that preserves and enhances the visual character and scenic beauty of America, led the charge to revitalize and restore funding for the program. Maine is currently home to the Acadia All-American Road as well as three National Scenic Byways: the Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway, the Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway and Schoodic Scenic Byway.