For many, this is the year we put our plans to cruise, or fly to far flung destinations on hold.
Some experts are calling this the “year of the car”, a time frame during which we will forego international travel and See America First. With gas prices in the affordable range, consider exploring a National Scenic Byway or an historic route.
Why not hop in the car and roll past beaches and harbors, cruise through valleys and canyons or amid jagged peaks and tall trees. Whether you take a day trip or plan a longer journey, plan ahead to make sure your chosen route is accessible, your vehicle is properly tuned and you have plenty of snacks, water and other safety items on board.
For designation as a National Scenic Byway a road must have one of six intrinsic qualities. To be designated an All-American Road, a road must have at least two of the six qualities.
- Scenic quality is the heightened visual experience derived from the view of natural and manmade elements of the visual environment of the scenic byway corridor. The characteristics of the landscape are strikingly distinct and offer a pleasing and most memorable visual experience.
- Natural quality applies to those features in the visual environment that are in a relatively undisturbed state. These features predate the arrival of human populations and may include geological formations, fossils, landform, water bodies, vegetation, and wildlife. There may be evidence of human activity, but the natural features reveal minimal disturbances.
- Historic quality encompasses legacies of the past that are distinctly associated with physical elements of the landscape, whether natural or manmade, that are of such historic significance that they educate the viewer and stir an appreciation for the past. The historic elements reflect the actions of people and may include buildings, settlement patterns, and other examples of human activity.
- Cultural quality is evidence and expressions of the customs or traditions of a distinct group of people. Cultural features include, but are not limited to, crafts, music, dance, rituals, festivals, speech, food, special events, or vernacular architecture.
- Archeological quality involves those characteristics of the scenic byways corridor that are physical evidence of historic or prehistoric human life or activity. The scenic byway corridor's archeological interest, as identified through ruins, artifacts, structural remains, and other physical evidence have scientific significance that educate the viewer and stir an appreciation for the past.
- Recreational quality involves outdoor recreational activities directly associated with and dependent upon the natural and cultural elements of the corridor's landscape. The recreational activities provide opportunities for active and passive recreational experiences. They include, but are not limited to, downhill skiing, rafting, boating, fishing, and hiking. Driving the road itself may qualify as a pleasurable recreational experience. The recreational activities may be seasonal, but the quality and importance of the recreational activities as seasonal operations must be well recognized.