About the Scenic Byways Program
A Scenic Byway can be defined as:
A public road and its corridor recognized through legislation or some other official declaration as a unique resource worth preserving by virtue of its intrinsic qualities. It is a road corridor which is of regionally outstanding scenic, natural, recreational, cultural, historic or archaeological significance. These corridors offer an alternative travel route to our major highways and daily travel patterns, while telling a story about New York State’s heritage, recreational activities or beauty. In addition, a scenic Byway corridor is managed to protect this outstanding character and to encourage economic development through tourism and recreation.
The Scenic Byway designation is recognized for its potential to positively impact the cities, towns and villages located along the routes:
Many benefits may accrue to communities through which scenic Byways pass including: increased economic benefits through promotion of tourism, improved traveler and community services, broadened appreciation of the State’s historic and natural resources and support for managing and maintaining these resources, improved management of resources to accommodate visitors, more careful stewardship of the Byway corridor, appropriate signs, incorporation of design features in keeping with the attributes of a scenic Byway and grants to develop the scenic Byway.
The NYS guide to Corridor Management Plans states that the program encourages both economic development and resource conservation, acknowledging that each of these aspects of a Byway must be fostered to ensure the success of the other.
New York State Scenic Byways
The New York State Scenic Byways Program was created in 1992 by the State Legislature. The program is administered by the Department of Transportation and is guided and implemented by the Scenic Advisory Board. Today the program recognizes an extensive system of over 2,400 miles of roadways that offer exceptional driving experiences throughout the state.
New York State designated Scenic Byways must be of particular statewide interest, possess a variety of distinctive characteristics and offer an exceptional driving experience. The Adirondack North Country region is crossed by more Scenic Byways than any other portion of the State, with 12 New York State Scenic Byways and and 3 National Scenic Byways.
National Scenic Byways
Roads designated as National Scenic Byways are transportation corridors of particular nationwide interest. National Scenic Byways are designated by the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. New York State has three nationally designated scenic byways:
- Lakes to Locks Passage, All-American Road
- Great Lakes – Seaway Trail, National Scenic Byway
- Mohawk Towpath Byway, National Scenic Byway
Lakes to Locks Passage, along the eastern side of the region, is the State’s only nationally designated All-American Road, a designation given to the “best of the best” among Scenic Byways across the country. These roads must possess nationally significant qualities and contain one-of-a-kind features. There are 31 All-American Roads, each considered to be a “destination unto itself” providing an exceptional traveling experience.
For more information on the National Scenic Byways Program visit National Scenic Byways.
This map provides an overview of all the Scenic Byway designations for New York State.