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Steps to Becoming a Byway

The Ohio Scenic Byway Program is a grass-roots effort to heighten awareness of our State’s historical and intrinsic resources: cultural, historical, archeological, recreational, natural and scenic – which collectively, enhance the overall traveling experience. Program participation provides subsequent benefits to the community as well, such as resource preservation, enhancement and protection. The program consists of a process divided into three phases:

I. Eligibility – During this first phase, a local byway committee gathers and prepares documentation to show that the Corridor meets program criteria, outlining the Corridor’s intrinsic resources, and demonstrating community support.

II. Designation – Once eligibility is determined, the local byway committee prepares a Corridor Management Plan, which represents a comprehensive collection of support data, protection techniques and management strategies for the Corridor.

III. Implementation – During the final phase, the points outlined in the Corridor Management Plan are put into action.

Program Criteria

  • The corridor must “tell a story” that relates to its intrinsic resource(s). Simply put, every roadway designated as a scenic byway must tell a story that may include information about history, culture, industry, ecology or recreational opportunities, all meant to provide an educational experience for the traveler.
  • The corridor must exhibit significant, exceptional and distinctive features of the region it traverses. Having resources that are significant, exceptional and distinctive is considered the cornerstone of the Ohio’s Scenic Byway Program and is necessary for receiving designation. Significant is viewed in the context of whether or not the resource is regionally recognized and valued by the surrounding communities. Exceptional implies the resource(s) is outstanding in its quality and composition within the landscape. Distinctive means the resource(s) is representative of the geographical region in which it is located; in other words, the resource is associated with an appropriate characteristic of a particular area of the state.
  • Ideally, the length of a candidate corridor should be determined by the resources present along that corridor. This length may also satisfy visitor expectation, for many travelers might often make a substantial diversion in their travel route to experience the roadway’s intrinsic qualities.
  • The CMP is a written document that serves as a record of a scenic byway’s development as well as the plan by which the scenic byway is implemented and then maintained and enhanced indefinitely. It contains a history of the scenic bywayshighway’s development as well as a history of the actions, procedures, protection measures, operational practices and all other strategies employed to preserve, enhance and maintain the intrinsic resources of the corridor.
  • A Community Participation Program must be developed and implemented. A scenic highway depends upon the community for the management and exposure of the Corridor; therefore, the local byway committee must develop and implement a Community Participation Plan to gain input and support from the general public.
  • Strong local support must be demonstrated. Such support can be demonstrated through letters from citizens, businesses and civic groups, surveys, partnering agreements, proclamations, resolutions, ordinances or other methods.

For detailed information about becoming a byway, please refer to the Scenic Byway Program Guidelines at http://www.dot.state.oh.us/OhioByways/Documents/ProgramGuidelines2012.pdf