Scenic Byways: A National Program, if Created, Should Be Small Scale

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-09-28.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                   United States
                   General Accounting Office
                   Washington, D.C. 20548

                   Resources, Community,           and
                   Economic Development            Division


                   September 281990

                   The Honorable John D. Rockefeller, IV
                   Chairman, Subcommittee on Foreign
                     Commerce and Tourism
                   Committee on Commerce, Science, and
                   United States Senate

                   Dear Mr. Chairman:

                   As the Congress dehberates reauthorization of the federal-aid highway
                   program in 1991, consideration is being given to the creation of a
                   national scenic byway program. Scenic byways are broadly defined as
                   vehicular routes with adjacent scenic, cultural, historic, or recreational
                   attractions. Proposals for a national program, contained in various fed-
                   eral studies, have ranged from a minimal federal role involving dissemi-
                   nation of scenic byway information to a large program with federally
                   designated routes and a substantial commitment of federal funds.

                   In response to your May 19,1989, request and subsequent agreements
                   with your office, we have reviewed various scenic byways designated
                   by state and private organizations. Specifically, we (1) determined the
                   characteristics of selected byway programs and activities, (2) deter-
                   mined the criteria states use to designate byways, and (3) identified
                   issues raised by scenic byway officials concerning the creation of a
                   national scenic byways program.

                   The scenic byways we reviewed were created primarily to promote
Results in Brief   tourism or preserve scenic beauty on land adjacent to the roadway.
                   However, a wide variance exists in the characteristics of 27 byway pro-
                   grams and activities’ we reviewed in 10 states. The types of roads desig-
                   nated as scenic byways ranged from interstate highways to gravel and
                   dirt roads. Often, to enhance the byways, byway identification signs
                   were erected, turn-outs or scenic overlooks constructed, and outdoor
                   advertising and land development adjacent to the routes restricted.
                   Twelve of the 27 byway programs and activities used federal-aid
                   highway funds to help finance byway improvements. Byways were also

                   ‘In this report, we consider byways created through a formal process using specific designation cri-
                   teria to be part of a “program.” We consider byways created without criteria and apart from an
                   organized program to be “activities.”

                   Page 1                                        GAO/RCXCIHO-Ml National Scenic Byways Program
             B-241024                                                                   I

             funded with general state revenues and donations from the private

             Some byways are designated using an administrative process whereby
             routes are visually inspected and rated using specific criteria, while
             others are created informally without using designation criteria. How-
             ever, in designating a byway, consideration is usually given to the (1)
             characteristics of the roadway corridor; (2) accessibility of the route to
             other byways or major tourist attractions; (3) characteristics of the
             road, such as length and type of route; and (4) public awareness and
             support of the byway program by local government or the private

             State and private scenic byway officials we contacted were concerned
             that a national scenic byway program, involving federally designated
             routes, would limit their authority to designate routes within their juris-
             diction or to determine the use of land along routes. Many officials were
             also concerned that a federal-aid highway program authorized specifi-
             cally for scenic byways would reduce the federal funds available for
             highway construction and preservation.

             If the Congress decides to create a national scenic byway program, we
             belie;re it should be of limited scope for several reasons. First, there
             appears to be little enthusiasm among state byway officials for a large
             program. Most scenic byway officials we contacted would support, how-
             ever, a small-scale program that facilitates the exchange of scenic
             byway information between the states and assists in promoting byways
             created for tourism purposes. Second, increased federal funding for such
             a program at this time may not be warranted in light of the limited
             funds available to address the nation’s highway and bridge needs. In
             this regard, states have the authority to use federal funds to make
             improvements they deem necessary to byways located on the federal-aid
             highway system.

             Currently, certain federal agencies, many state and local governments,
Background   and private organizations have designated existing roads as scenic
             byways. Federal agencies such as the National Park Service, the U.S.
             Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management have designated a
             number of routes as scenic byways on lands they own or manage. (App.
             IV describes these federal programs.) In addition, many states have
             developed a wide variety of scenic byway programs within their states
             with routes that vary in length and traverse both urban and rural areas.

             Page 2                            GAO/RCED-99-241 National Scenic Byways Program

                        Private groups, such as the American Automobile Association (AAA),
                        also designate and promote scenic byways.

                        Interest in establishing a national scenic byway program has existed
                        since the mid-1960s. Both a 1966 study by the Department of Commerce
                        and a 1974 study by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recom-
                        mended the creation of a national scenic roads program to help unify the
                        various federal, state, and local agency byway efforts. (App. IV
                        describes these studies in more detail.) In 1986, the President’s Commis-
                        sion on Americans Outdoors recommended the creation of a national
                        network of state and locally designated scenic byways to preserve the
                        scenic or historic character of lesser travelled roads.

                        Recently, Members of Congress, some states, and private interest groups
                        have also been interested in establishing a national scenic byway pro-
                        gram. Their interest coincides with the reauthorization of the Highway
                        Trust Fund-a potential funding source for the creation and operation
                        of a scenic byway program.

                        The characteristics of the 27 scenic byway programs and activities we
Wide Variance Exists    reviewed in 10 states varied significantly, as did byway program
Between State Scenic    funding sources, management, and the criteria used for byway designa-
Byway Programs          tion. Most of the byways, however, were promoted by states or private
                        groups through maps, brochures, or roadway signs. Activities that
                        occurred most frequently after byway designation were the signing of
                        byway routes, construction of turn-outs or scenic overlooks, control of
                        outdoor advertising, and restrictions on the development of private land
                        adjacent to the route.

Byway Characteristics   Among the byway programs and activities we reviewed, there is neither
                        a common definition nor uniform terminology for scenic byways. A
                        variety of terms are used to refer to scenic byways such as Scenic High-
                        ways, Auto Trails, Parkways, and Circle Tours. Scenic byways in some
                        states, for example, are defined as roads having a high aesthetic or cul-
                        tural value in areas of natural, historical, or recreational significance. In
                        other states, byways are defined as lightly travelled roads with adjacent
                        outstanding natural features, such as Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads, or
                        simply as those routes designated as scenic by a government authority
                        or private group.

                        Page 3                             GAO/WED-90-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
B-241024                                                                       ,

The types of routes designated as byways varied considerably in the 10
states we visited. The roads designated as byways included interstate,
state, or county highways, as well as unpaved dirt roads. Some were
loop tours (tours that loop back to the point of origin) near urban areas,
such as Wisconsin’s Auto Tours, while others were more linear routes
parallel to highly travelled highways. While most state programs
included a number of separate individual routes, in a few states, byway
programs consisted of just one route such as the Mohawk Trail in Massa-
chusetts. The length of the byways also varied significantly. For
example, some byways were less than a mile long. Others were over
 1,000 miles in length and ran through a number of states or crossed
international borders. (See app. I and III for more details on these pro-
grams and activities.)

Most byway officials told us that the main purpose of their scenic
byway program or activity was either to preserve scenic beauty or pro-
mote tourism. Figure 1 shows the frequency of the main purposes for
the 27 programs we reviewed.

Page 4                           GAO/RCEDtWg41   National   Scenic Byways   Program

Figure 1: Main Purpose of 27 Scenic
Byway Programs and Activities
                                                                             Increase recreational enjoyment

                                                >                            Enomic    development
                                                                             Other purposes
                                                                             Control construction or development

                                                                A-           Preserve scenic beauty

                                                                             Promote tourism

Promotion, Funding, and               Most of the byway programs and activities we reviewed (20 of the 27)
                                      are promoted using a variety of marketing and publicity techniques.
Management                            However, five byway programs whose main purpose is preservation are
                                      not promoted because, according to some byway officials, such actions
                                      could increase congestion or development and adversely affect the
                                      scenic qualities of the byway. Eleven byway programs that have
                                      tourism or economic development as their main purpose are promoted
                                      usually with maps, books, and brochures that describe attractions along
                                      the route. Also, special designation signs have been erected along routes
                                      in 17 of the 27 programs and activities.

                                      Private groups and state agencies play a key role in promoting the
                                      byways we reviewed. For example, a nonprofit agency in New York, the
                                      Seaway Trail, Inc., produces various publications and other material
                                      featuring historic and recreational attractions along the Seaway Trail,

                                      Page 6                           GAO/RCEDW241    National   Scenic Byways   Program

                                         one of the state’s Auto Trails. Many states use various methods to publi-
                                         cize and market byway travel by both domestic and foreign tourists.
                                         (See app. I for more on byway promotion.)

                                         Most often, states used general state revenue, private-sector funding,
                                         and federal-aid highway funds to finance byway programs and activi-
                                         ties. About one-half of the byway programs used federal-aid highway
                                         moneys to help fund byway costs. Such funds can be used for land-
                                         scaping and roadside development for amenities such as rest areas and
                                         other roadside facilities and, in order to restore, preserve, or enhance
                                         scenic beauty, to acquire strips of land adjacent to byway routes. The
                                         amount of federal-aid highway funds spent specifically on scenic
                                         byways was not available because such work was usually completed as
                                         part of other highway improvement projects. The sources used to fund
                                         scenic byway programs and activities we reviewed are shown in figure

Figure 2: Funding Sources of 27 Scenic
Byway Efforts
                                         26   Number of Byway Programs and Activities

                                         Funding Sources
                                         Note: Some programs and activities have more than one funding source.

                                         Page 6                                         GAO/ItCED-90-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program

                      Other scenic byway funding sources include moneys from local govern-
                      ments, bond issues, and state lottery proceeds. Regional tourism associa-
                      tions in Oregon, for example, received lottery funds from the state
                      tourism office to publish maps of area loop tours. The staff managing
                      the Travel Arizona program is part of the state transportation depart-
                      ment, but it is completely self-supported through the sale of travel
                      magazines and books. Massachusetts authorized the sale of $17.5 million
                      in bonds exclusively for scenic land acquisition, and its Department of
                      Public Works develops partnerships with other state agencies and con-
                      servation groups to obtain additional funds to acquire land adjacent to
                      scenic routes. Private groups and associations also provide funds for
                      such things as landscaping and maintenance of land areas adjacent to
                      byway routes.

                      State transportation departments normally have the primary responsi-
                      bility for managing the scenic byway programs or activities. However,
                      other state agencies responsible for activities such as tourism, natural
                      resources, parks, and historic preservation are also involved. Private
                      groups and local governments are also involved in managing a few pro-
                      grams. For example, the Circle Tours around Lakes Michigan and Supe-
                      rior and the Cascade Loop in Washington were created and promoted
                      almost exclusively by private tourism associations. Along California
                      State and County Scenic Byways, local governments administer a scenic
                      highway protection program to control outdoor advertising and regulate
                      land use adjacent to designated routes.

Designation Process   Roads within the states we visited are usually designated as scenic
                      byways by state legislatures, state or local agencies, and/or private
                      groups. Seventeen of the 27 byways programs we reviewed were for-
                      mally designated as scenic byways which typically involved a visual
                      inspection and rating of the prospective route using specific factors or
                      criteria. In some cases, public hearings may also be part of the designa-
                      tion process. Other byways, such as those created by private organiza-
                      tions or state tourism agencies, were selected without using a formal
                      process or use of specific designation criteria.

                      The designation criteria used most frequently related to the route’s
                      accessibility, the quality of scenery, or availability of attractions along
                      the road corridor. (See app. II for additional information on designation
                      criteria.) The designation criteria used in New York’s Scenic Roads’ pro-
                      gram, for example, is designed to ensure that the routes selected exhibit
                      exceptional scenic characteristics; highlight distinctive regional, historic,

                      Page 7                             GAO/WED-go-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program

                    or cultural features; and receive support from local government and
                    constituent groups. Other states use designation criteria with a slightly
                    different emphasis. For example, in addition to having historic value,
                    roads selected for Tennessee’s scenic highway program must be inter-
                    connected with the state highway system, cannot be high-speed or
                    heavily travelled highways, and must be safe to travel.

Results of Scenic   A number of changes to a roadway or roadway corridor occur after a
                    route has been designated a scenic byway. For about half of the 27 pro-
Designation         grams and activities we reviewed, designation resulted in construction
                    of new roadside facilities such as scenic turn-outs or rest stops; improve-
                    ments to roadside aesthetics through landscaping, mowing or pruning;
                    and/or restrictions on outdoor advertising, building construction, or
                    other development of land adjacent to designated routes. For 22 of the
                    byway programs and activities, designation did not result in increased
                    road maintenance or restoration.

                    When byways were designated for preservation purposes, land use adja-
                    cent to the byway was usually affected. Ten of the 13 byway programs
                    with a preservation purpose restrict or control development along the
                    highway corridor. For example, Tennessee’s Scenic Highway program
                    places controls on the heights of buildings and restricts outdoor adver-
                    tising and junkyards along designated routes. The Open Space Program
                    in Massachusetts prohibits construction on land purchased along scenic
                    routes. Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads program enlists the help of local offi-
                    cials in volunteering to limit development on land adjacent to the routes.

                    In our review of scenic byway literature and discussions with numerous
                    byway officials, we were unable to identify any completed research or
                    studies on the economic impact of scenic byway designation or promo-
                    tion. State tourism officials we contacted could not isolate the economic
                    impacts of scenic byway designation or promotion in part because of the
                    multiuse nature of scenic byways. Others said they lacked the resources
                    to study the economic effects of scenic byways. However, studies on the
                    economic impact of scenic byways are currently underway in several
                    states, including a Kansas State University study on byways in Iowa,
                    Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. In addition, FXWA'S scenic byways
                    study-scheduled     for completion in November 1990-is to include case
                    studies on the economic impacts of selected byways.

                    Despite limited research in this area, private-sector and state tourism
                    officials believe that promoting routes produces a positive economic

                    Page 8                            GAO/RCED-90-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
                         effect. For example, a private-sector byway official told us that business
                         dramatically increased along Historic (U.S.) Route 66 in Arizona when
                         the route was promoted. Also, the U.S. Travel and Tourism Administra-
                         tion (USTTA) and the states of Montana, Utah, and Wyoming recently
                         promoted U.S. Highway 89 in the Rocky Mountain region to Japanese
                         tour operators. According to the USTTA, the promotion resulted in 750
                         bookings and generated an estimated $1.5 million in tourism revenues to
                         states along the route.

                         Because state and private byway programs are so diverse, it is doubtful
Issues Raised by State   that any one state would have a program that could be used as a model
and Private Officials    for a national program. However, options for such a program have been
Concerning a National    proposed in prior scenic byway studies and by private groups such as
                         the AAA. These proposals have ranged in scope from a minimal federal
ScenicByway              role such as a small office which would function as a clearinghouse of
Program                  byway-related information to a much larger federal program involving
                         federal byway designation and increased funding for scenic byways.
                         (These proposals are discussed in more detail in app. IV.) State and pri-
                         vate officials we contacted raised several concerns about a federal pro-
                         gram involving federal designation that will have to be addressed if a
                         national program is established.

                         The issues raised relate to the potential impacts that a federal program
                         involving federally designated scenic byways would have on existing
                         state programs. Officials we contacted believe that greater federal
                         involvement could limit the flexibility of states to manage their existing
                         programs, to set land use policies, or make road or highway improve-
                         ments. Officials were also concerned that a separate federal highway
                         funding category for scenic byways might reduce federal funding avail-
                         able for highway construction and preservation programs. State and pri-
                         vate byway groups do, however, support federal involvement in scenic
                         byways to further information sharing, provide information on program
                         management and organization, and promote state and private byway
                         programs regionally and abroad.

Byway Officials          Because scenic byways were created on the basis of varying state or
ConcernedAbout           local needs and priorities, officials from several states told us that if a
                         federal program for designating national scenic byways were imple-
Federally Designated     mented, they would favor a designation process with strong state and
Routes                   local involvement, including the ability to nominate roads for inclusion
                         as national byways. This would allow states to preserve the integrity of

                         Page 9                            GAO/RCED-99-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program

                      their own scenic byways programs and to participate fully in decisions
                      that affect their roads.

                      About two-thirds of the state and private officials we contacted2 would
                      not support a program with national byway designations, if such desig-
                      nations required that use of land adjacent to the route would be pre-
                      served or controlled. Officials in some states said that decisions on land
                      use near such byways should be based on local or state policies and pri-
                      orities and not federal regulations. Groups such as the National Camp-
                      ground Owners Association are also concerned that national designation
                      of byways would limit or possibly restrict development options on land
                      adjacent to such routes. On the other hand, one-third of those contacted
                      suggested that nationally designated routes should preserve land adja-
                      cent to designated routes to protect the scenic characteristics of the
                      byway. Almost three-fourths of the state and private officials also did
                      not support national byway designations if they meant road improve-
                      ments would be limited or restricted.

Federal Funding for   Most state and private officials we contacted support some form of fed-
                      era1 funding for scenic byways, but there was no consensus on the spe-
Byways Supported      cific type or source of those funds. About half of the state and private
                      officials were concerned about creating a new federal-aid highway
                      funding category dedicated specifically for scenic byways. Officials in
                      some state transportation departments we contacted generally opposed
                      such a funding category largely because they believed it might reduce
                      total funding available for other highway program areas, such as
                      highway construction or preservation. In 1989, for example, although
                      $12 billion was allocated for the federal-aid highway program, capital
                      investment requirements on the federal-aid highway system were esti-
                      mated to exceed $23 billion annually.

                      A number of other state officials suggested that nonhighway-related
                      funding sources be used, such as the Land and Water Conservation
                      Fund.3 Some suggested that funding for federal and state byway activi-
                      ties might also come from partnerships such as those between the U.S.

                      ‘Views concerning a national scenic byway program were obtained through responses to a telephone
                      survey administered to managers of the 27 byway programs and activities in 10 states, and officials
                      with 7 private groups with an interest in scenic byways. Officials in four states without byway pro
                      grams were also interviewed concerning a national scenic byway program.

                      3The Land and Water Conservation Fund, admimstered by the National Park Service, provides grants
                      to states and local governments to acquire, develop, and improve outdoor recreation areas.

                      Page 10                                      GAO/ltCED9O-241     National   Scenic Byways   Program

                          Forest Service and the Plymouth Division of Chrysler Corporation and
                          the Bureau of Land Management and Farmers Insurance Company.
                          Under current partnership arrangements, these companies provide some
                          funding for signs, brochures, and other scenic byway promotional

Federal Involvement in    Despite these concerns, state and private officials did support some fed-
                          era1 byway activities. State byway officials not familiar with the scenic
Information Sharing and   byway activities of other states or private groups said that more infor-
Promotion of Byways       mation on byway programs or activities of other states and organiza-
Desired                   tions would be useful to improve their existing byway programs or to
                          help establish new activities. Most officials we contacted supported pro-
                          posals like that made by the AAA for creating a small office at the fed-
                          eral level as a means to share byway information and assist states and
                          others in developing byway programs. As envisioned by the AAA, such
                          an office would function as a clearinghouse for byway-related informa-
                          tion and ideas and provide guidance to states, local governments, or pri-
                          vate groups interested in designating or promoting routes as scenic
                          byways. Officials from four states-Louisiana,     New Jersey, New
                          Mexico, and Wyoming-that       did not have byway programs told us that
                          federal assistance would be helpful if they were to start their own
                          byway program. According to state officials, federal activities such as
                          operating a clearinghouse of byway-related information and providing
                          guidance and technical assistance on ways to identify, designate, and
                          promote scenic byways would be useful.

                          Over two-thirds of the state and private officials supported a federal
                          role in promoting scenic byways domestically and/or abroad. Officials in
                          several states said federal promotional efforts are needed because they
                          lacked the resources for such promotions. They also believe that the fed-
                          eral government could better promote scenic byways on a regional basis,
                          especially to foreign tourists. Several officials cited efforts by the Mis-
                          sissippi River Parkway Commission to promote travel along the Great
                          River Road in foreign markets as a example of successful byway promo-
                          tion on a regional basis. To attract Japanese tourists to the area, the
                          Commission attended tourism conferences in Japan and developed bilin-
                          gual promotional materials and other marketing strategies. Some of
                          these officials said that federal help in promotional efforts like this
                          could increase domestic and international tourism, help boost local or
                          rural economies, and provide greater visibility for scenic byways at the
                          national level.

                          Page 11                           GAO/RCED-90-241 National Scenic Byways Program

                   terns of states about federally designated routes, it may be difficult to
Observations and   reach a consensus on the makeup of a national program. There appears
Matters for        to be little support for a large national program funded from a new fed-
                   eral-aid highway funding category or for federally designated byways
Congressional      that would limit states’ ability to set land use policies and make road
Consideration      improvements. However, support does exist for federal involvement
                   that would provide information to states and private groups on byway
                   program management and organization, and help promote state and pri-
                   vate byway programs regionally and abroad.

                   If the Congress decides to create a national scenic byway program, we
                   believe that such a program should be of limited scope. The federal-aid
                   highway program already provides funds that can be used to make
                   improvements to scenic byways on the federal-aid highway system. Any
                   efforts to significantly expand federal-aid highway funding for byways
                   may not be warranted at this time, given the need for funds to ade-
                   quately address our nation’s highway and bridge needs and the concerns
                   that many state byway officials have over the creation of a large
                   national program.

                   We discussed the results of our review with F’HWA officials and with offi-
                   cials of the US. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and
                   National Park Service, and incorporated their comments where appro-
                   priate. The officials agreed with the factual information as presented.
                   As requested, we did not obtain official agency comments on a draft of
                   this report. Our review was conducted between August 1989 and June
                   1990 and was performed in accordance with generally accepted govern-
                   ment auditing standards.

                   As arranged with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents
                   earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days after
                   the date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies of this report to
                   officials in the states we visited, the heads of pertinent federal depart-
                   ments and agencies, and other interested parties. This report was

                   Page 12                           GAO/RCED-90-241   Yational   Scenic Byways   Program

     prepared under the direction of Kenneth M. Mead, Director of Transpor-
     tation Issues (202) 275-1000. Major contributors to this report are listed
     in appendix VI.

Il   J. Dexter Peach
V    Assistant Comptroller General

     Page 13                           GAO/ECEBB@Z41   National   Scenic &ways   Program

Appendix I                                                                                                  16
Characteristics of         Types of Routes Selected
                           Designation Process and Management Structure
ScenicByway                Promotion                                                                        19
Programs and               Results of Byway Designation                                                     21
Appendix II                                                                                                 24
Designation Criteria
Appendix III                                                                                                25
SelectedFeatures of
Programs/Activities in                                                                   P
10 States
Appendix IV                                                                                                 31
Federal   Scenic   Byway   National Park Service Parkways                                                   31
                           1J.S.Forest Service Scenic Byway Program                                         31
Programs and               Bureau of Land Management Backcountry Byways                                     32
Activities                      Program
                           Prior Federal Scenic Byway Studies                                               33

Appendix V                                                                                                  36
Objectives, Scope,and
Appendix VI                                                                                                 38
Major Contributors to
This Report

                           Page 14                        GAO/RCED-90-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program

Tables    Table I. 1: Promotion Methods Used in 14 Programs and                           21
              Activities to Target Foreign Residents
          Table II. 1: Criteria Used to Designate Scenic Byways                            24

Figures   Figure 1: Main Purpose of 27 Scenic Byway Programs and                            5
          Figure 2: Funding Sources of 27 Scenic Byway Efforts                              6
          Figure I. 1: Number of Byways Programs and Activities                            20
               Using Promotion Methods
          Figure 1.2: Activities Associated With 27 Scenic Byway                           22


                     American Automobile Association
          BLM        Bureau of Land Management
          FVWA       Federal Highway Administration
          GAO        General Accounting Office
          NPS        National Park Service
          RCED       Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division
          USTTA      U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration

          Page 16                         GAO/RCFCD9@241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
Appendix I

Characteristics of ScenicByway Programs                                                                             ’
and Activities

                  During our review of state scenic byways, we analyzed 27 byway pro-
                  grams and activities’ in 10 states and identified key characteristics of
                  the byways including route types; designation processes; and manage-
                  ment structures, promotion methods, and results of byway designation.
                  (See app. II for information on designation criteria.)

                  The characteristics of the byways-including  the length and type of
Types of Routes   routes-varied    between the byways we reviewed. However, most of the
Selected          programs and activities shared one common characteristic-the    desig-
                  nation of a number of separate, unconnected routes.

                  The length of the byways varied considerably. One of Oregon’s Historic
                  Highways and two of Tennessee’s Scenic Highways, for example, are
                  less than 1 mile long. Similarly, Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads are relatively
                  short, averaging 5 miles in length. In contrast, some byway routes are
                  very long and sometimes cross state and international borders. For
                  example, the average “back road” in the Travel Arizona program is over
                  100 miles long. The 1,300-mile Lake Superior Circle Tour and the 3,000-
                  mile Great River Road along the Mississippi River both run through a
                  number of states and Canada.

                  The types of routes designated as scenic byways ranged from interstate
                  highways to dirt roads. Examples of interstate and state highways are
                  Washington’s Interstate 90 across the Cascade Mountains, California’s
                  State Scenic Highways, and the Wildflower Routes in Minnesota respec-
                  tively. Other byways are county or local roads, such as California’s
                  County Scenic Highways or Wisconsin’s Rustic Roads. Still others
                  byways-some of the Rustic Roads and Travel Arizona routes-are on
                  gravel or unpaved roads.

                  Some byways start and end in urban areas after looping through sur-
                  rounding rural areas, while other routes are linear and offer travelers
                  an alternative route to highly travelled roads. For example, the Cascade
                  Loop begins in Everett, Washington-a city of 64,000 people-extends
                  400 miles through rural and mountain regions, and returns back to
                  Everett. Most of the Auto Tours in Wisconsin also start in cities and loop
                  through the countryside before returning to the same urban area. Other
                  byways run parallel to highly traveled routes. The Seaway Trail in New

                  ‘The information contained in this appendix is baaed on interviews and responses to a telephone
                  survey we administered to managers of each of the 27 byway programs or activities reviewed.
                  Figures I.1 and I.2 and table I.1 summarize the results of selected questions.

                  Page 16                                      GAO/RCED-90-241     National   Scenic Byways   Program
                      Appendix I
                      Characbristiies   of Scenic Byway Programs
                      and Activities

                      York, for example, runs 454 miles along the northern border of New
                      York state, connecting many scenic, historic, and recreational attrac-
                      tions and providing an alternative to heavily travelled routes I-90 and
                      I-81. Route 99W, one of the Scenic Routes in Oregon, runs parallel to I-5
                      for 122 miles and provides a more scenic travelling route than the latter.

                      Most byway programs and activities in the 10 states consisted of a
                      number of separate, unconnected routes. For example, California has 23
                      Driving Tours in different rural areas throughout the state, and a Scenic
                      Highway program with 51 separate routes in different parts of the state.
                      Tennessee’s Scenic Highway program includes 5 urban routes and 17
                      rural routes in various sections of the state. Virginia established criteria
                      that require designated byways to be widely distributed throughout the
                      state. However, one of the 27 programs we reviewed-the 39-route
                      Scenic Parkway program in Tennessee-links its routes together into a
                      statewide scenic byway system.

                      Scenic byway programs and activities we reviewed require one or more
Designation Process   groups or organizations, such as state legislatures, state agencies, local
and Management        or regional agencies, and/or private groups, to designate2 byway routes.
Structure             Minnesota, Tennessee, and Washington use the state legislature to desig-
                      nate certain byways. State transportation agencies often have responsi-
                      bility for developing and implementing designation procedures as well.
                      For example, officials in the Tennessee Department of Transportation
                      designated the 39 routes in the Scenic Parkway program after reviewing
                      suggestions submitted by its district staff. In Oregon, on the other hand,
                      the legislature commissioned a citizen’s task force to study Historic and
                      Scenic Highways and submit its recommendations to the Oregon Trans-
                      portation Commission for designation. Private groups designated the
                      Cascade Loop in Washington and the Circle Tours around Lakes Mich-
                      igan and Superior.

                      Most byway programs designate routes without a formal process or use
                      of specific designation criteria, such as the byways designated by pri-
                      vate groups and state tourism agencies. Private groups designated the
                      Cascade Loop in Washington and the Circle Tours around Lakes Mich-
                      igan and Superior without specific designation criteria. The Wisconsin
                      tourism office designated the Auto Tours, and the California tourism

                      ‘We used the term “designation” to refer to byways created or established by state, local or regional
                      agencies, and private groups using either a formal or informal process.

                      Page 17                                       GAO/RCED-90-241      National   Scenic Byways   Program
Appendix I
Characteristics   of Scenic Byway Programs
and Activities

office established the Driving Tours without specific designation

In contrast, some programs have a formal designation process that can
require a number of steps. Many programs involve visual inspections of
prospective routes to determine if a route meets established criteria or
standards. Officials in states like Arizona and New York use highly
quantitative rating methods to score each segment of the proposed
Scenic Roads. For example, the designation process for Arizona’s
Parkway, Historic and Scenic Roads program involves a 12-step process
that requires up to 5 different groups or individuals to agree on a route’s
designation. Public hearings are required before designation takes place
for programs in California, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Programs in Ari-
zona, California, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin have provisions
that allow officials to revoke designation if a review indicates that a
route no longer meets the conditions for designation.

Scenic byway programs and activities we reviewed are managed by
state and/or local agencies, private groups, and sometimes partnerships
involving several agencies or groups. In about two-thirds of the scenic
byway programs and activities we reviewed, the state transportation
department had primary management responsibility. But other state
agencies such as tourism, natural resources, parks, and historic preser-
vation are also involved in managing the byways. For example, the Min-
nesota Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources work
together to manage the Wildflower Routes planting and vegetation
activities. The Tennessee Department of Transportation designated the
Parkways and put up signs along the road, while the state tourism office
developed maps and brochures to make travelers aware of attractions
along the Parkways. In Virginia, the Department of Conservation and
Recreation has the main responsibility for evaluating potential byways,
while the Department of Transportation assists with these efforts,
designates the routes, and conducts annual inspections of the roadway.

Private groups and local governments occasionally work in partnership
with state agencies to manage state byway programs. For example, the
Open Space Program in Massachusetts usually requires conservation
commissions or local groups to maintain the land acquired by the state
along scenic corridors. In Minnesota, local governments maintain the
landscapes along the state’s Wildflower Routes, and private groups pro-
vide landscaping equipment and seeds.

Page 18                                      GAO/RCXD-90-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
            Appendix I
            Characteristics   of Scenic Byway Programs
            and Activities

            In some cases, private groups have developed and organized byway pro-
            grams with little state help or involvement. The Circle Tours around
            Lakes Michigan and Superior and the Cascade Loop in Washington are
            examples of byways that were designated and promoted mainly by pri-
            vate tourism associations. Likewise, various chambers of commerce in
            Oregon have designated Scenic Routes and Loop Tours in their areas to
            promote tourism.

            States and private groups use a variety of methods to promote byways
Promotion   and their attractions. Twenty of the 27 byway programs and activities
            we reviewed are promoted in some way. In some states, private groups
            organize activities for a particular route in a scenic byway program. For
            example, a nonprofit agency in New York, the Seaway Trail, Inc., pro-
            duces various publications featuring historic and recreational attrac-
            tions along the Seaway Trail, one of the state’s Auto Trails. In Arizona,
            the Historic Route 66 Association publishes a monthly promotional
            newsletter and helps organize car rallies and historic billboard restora-
            tion activities along one of the state’s Historic Roads.

            As figure I.1 shows, promotion methods used most often to promote the
            byways are signs along the routes, books, brochures, maps, and tourism

            Page 19                                      GAO/WED-90-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
                                         Appendix I
                                         Characteristics   of Scenic Byway Programs
                                         and Activities

Figure 1.1: Number of Byways Programs
and Activities Using Promotion Methods
                                         26    Number of Byway Plogmms and Activitii

                                          Promotion Methods for20 Byway P-rams     and Activitii

                                         Signs play an important role in promoting scenic byways and their
                                         attractions. An Oregon study on highway signs found that because
                                         people do not plan their trips completely, they are receptive to new
                                         information when travelling. According to the study, signs encourage
                                         travelers to leave the major traffic corridors and visit nearby attrac-
                                         tions. The study also found that travelers in rural areas have a difficult
                                         time finding attractions without appropriate signs to help them locate
                                         the attractions.

                                         Some states also focus their byway promotional efforts on foreign tour-
                                         ists. According to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Administration (USTTA),
                                         seeing outstanding scenery is among the top goals of Europeans and
                                         Asian tourists. To stimulate foreign interest in byway attractions, states
                                         like Massachusetts and California set up tours to introduce foreign
                                         writers and bus tour operators to byway attractions so they will pro-
                                         mote them in their own countries. Some states have representatives in
                                         foreign countries or send tourism officials to conferences overseas to
                                         promote the state, including its scenic byways. Some states and private

                                          Page 20                                       GAO/R~90-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
   .                                      Appendix I
                                          Characteristics   of Scenic Byway Programs
                                          and Activities

                                          groups use materials in other languages to promote attractions in their
                                          areas. For example, California publishes a map in Spanish that high-
                                          lights its Scenic Highways, and the Mississippi River Parkway Commis-
                                          sion uses materials in Japanese to promote the Great River Road.

                                          Fourteen of the 20 byway programs and activities that are promoted in
                                          some way target foreign residents. Table I. 1 lists the most frequent
                                          methods to promote byways internationally.

Table 1.1: Promotion Methods Used in 14
Programs and Activities to Target         Method used                                                                              Number
Foreign Residents                         Activltles directed toward foreign tour operators                                              12
                                          State representation at foreign tourism conferences                                            IO
                                          Publlcatlon In other languages                                                                  9
                                          Offices or representatives in foreign countries                                                 8

                                          Little or no promotion is done for byways with a preservation focus
                                          because, according to officials from several states, promoting such pro-
                                          grams could increase tourism and traffic in areas not meant to accom-
                                          modate such increases. For example, officials in Wisconsin do not want
                                          to promote the Rustic Roads too heavily because greater publicity could
                                          increase traffic congestion on narrow, low-access roads. Massachusetts’
                                          officials said that increased attention on scenic byways might require
                                          additional road construction-like     widening shoulders or creating new
                                          lanes-to safely accommodate the additional traffic. Of the 13 byway
                                          programs that had scenic preservation as their main purpose, 5 are not
                                          promoted at all.

                                          Scenic byway designation has resulted in a number of changes to the
Results of Byway                          roadway or to land adjacent to the roadway. Figure I.2 identifies the
Designation                               types of changes that have taken place among the 27 programs we

                                          Page 21                                      GAO/RCEIMO-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
                                           Appendix I
                                           Characteristics      of Scenic Byway Programs
                                           and Activities

Figure 1.2:Activities Associated With 27
Scenic Byway Efforts                       26     Number of Byway Programs and Activities


                                           Type of Activities

                                            Many programs put up special signs along the route to indicate that the
                                            route has been designated as a byway. In many cases, the same sign is
                                            used on all the routes of a program. For example, Tennessee put up over
                                            2,000 mockingbird signs along its Scenic Parkways. Arizona uses iden-
                                            tical signs along its Parkway, Historic and Scenic Roads, even though
                                            the routes have been designated using different criteria. The Great River
                                            Road uses the same sign along the entire lo-state route. In a few pro-
                                            grams, however, the signs vary from route to route. For example, dif-
                                            ferent signs were developed and put up along the Scenic Routes and
                                            Loop Tours in Oregon. Since each route or loop has different types of
                                            attractions, the signs reflect those differences. Each of the 11 Auto
                                            Trails in New York-like the Dude Ranch Trail, the Military Trail, and
                                            the Seaway Trail-have      distinctive signs because each Trail has a dif-
                                            ferent theme. Two signs are used along Minnesota’s Wildflower Routes,
                                            one for routes through prairies and one for other routes.

                                             In many cases, roadside facilities are constructed or upgraded once a
                                             route is designated. Rest stops, picnic areas, scenic turnouts and scenic

                                             Page 22                                        GAO/WED-99-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
.   Appendix I
    Characteristics   of Scenic By-way Programs
    and Activities

    overlooks are among the facilities typically built or upgraded along the
    routes. On some routes, byway designation results in special landscaping
    activities, such as planting trees, shrubs, or native grasses and trimming
    vegetation more frequently. Other activities improve the appearance of
    the road, such as using wooden or rock guardrails, burying utility lines;
    or painting guardrails, signs, and concrete.

    Page 23                                       GAO/lZCED30-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
Appendix II

Designation Criteria

                                        Twelve of the 27 byways programs and activities we reviewed used spe-
                                        cific criteria to designate scenic byways. The criteria generally fell into
                                        four categories: (1) corridor characteristics, (2) accessibility, (3) road
                                        characteristics, and (4) public awareness and support. The criteria used
                                        most often related to the route’s corridor characteristics, and more spe-
                                        cifically, to the quality or quantity of attractions along the route and the
                                        quality of scenery. The following is a listing of the various types of cri-
                                        teria used.

Table 11.1:Criteria Used to Designate
Scenic Byways                           Category                       Types of Criteria
                                        Corridor characteristrcs       Quality or quantity of scenic, recreational, historic, cultural,
                                                                       or geologic attractions along the route.
                                                                       Intactness, uniqueness, unity, vividness of scenery.
                                                                       Complementary     facilities (parking, visitor centers, rest
                                                                       Existence of land use restnctions or protections.
                                                                       Amount or type of existing or potential development        along
                                                                       the route.

                                                                       Plans for reviewing or managing proposed or existing
                                                                       roadside development.
                                        Accessibility                  Connection with other designated routes.

                                                                       Connection to major attractions.

                                                                       Proximity to population areas and well-travelled     routes.

                                                                       Alternative route to well-travelled   routes.

                                                                       Availability or number of connecting access roads and
                                        Road characteristics           Safety issues (guardrails, shoulders, warning signs, ability to
                                                                       carry large vehicles safely, speed limit).

                                                                       Road or roadside design.

                                                                       Length of the route.

                                                                       Type of users (commercial, residential, local).

                                                                       Existing or potential volume of traffic.
                                        Public awareness and support   Local and state government support
                                                                       Private sector support.
                                                                       Availability of partnerships for funding, management,
                                                                       maintenance, and promotion
                                                                       Widely recognized routes.

                                        Page 24                                   GAO/RCED-90-241      National   Scenic Byways   Program
Appendix III

sleeted Features of ScenicByway
Programs/Activities in 10 Statesa

                                                                                                         Who manages or
                                                                                   What happens          oversees the   How are the
                                                              Who designates       after    --           program/       routes
Program/activity     Main purpose      Scope of routes        the routes?          designation?          activity?      promoted?
   Parkways,         Preserve scenic   1 parkway, 2           Advisory             Signs put up          Advisory                One route
   Historic and      beautv            historic, and 6        committee            along route,          committee               promoted by
   Scenic Roads            .           scenic routes          recommends           recommendations                               private
                                       covering a total of    route; state         made for                                      assocration, local
                                       395 miles              transportation       improving and                                 communities
                                                              ;uardsdesignates     preserving                                    highlight routes in
                                                                                   scenery; some                                 some promotional
                                                                                   construction of                               material
                                                                                   roadside facilities
  Travel Arizona     Promote tourism   16 routes that         Editors of a state   Promotional           Editors of a state       Books describe
                                       take 1 to 3 davs to    transbortation       material              transportation           attractions alone
                                       drive (length of       depaytment           developed             department               the routes; state
                                       routes unknown),       magazine                                   magazine                 tourism office
                                       20 “back road”                                                                             booklet describes
                                       routes on paved                                                                            attractions along
                                       and unpaved                                                                                the 16-route
                                       roads covering a                                                                           system
                                       total of 2,144 mrles
  County Scenic      Preserve scenic   Parts of 4 county    Advisory               Local jurisdiction State                       Not currently
  Highways           beauty            highways covering    committee              implements a       transportation              promoted by state
                                       a total of 47 miles  reviews request        scenic protection  department                  tourism office
                                                            for designation by     program; state
                                                            local jurisdictions;   transportation
                                                            state                  department puts
                                                            transportation         up signs along the
                                                            department             routes
  Driving Tours of   Economic          23 routes,           Routes identified      Routes promoted       State tourism            Booklet describes
  the Calrfornias    development       primarily loop       by local tourism       by state tourism      office                   the routes and
                                       tours in rural areas and promotion          off ice                                        their attractions
  State Scenic       Preserve scenic   51 routes covering Advisory                 Local jurisdiction State                       Routes are signed
  Highways           beauty            a total of 1,068     committee              implements a       transportation              and identified on
                                       miles                reviews request        scenic protection  department                  state tourism map
                                                            for designation by     program; state
                                                            local jurisdrctrons;   transportation
                                                            state                  department puts
                                                            transportation         up signs along the
                                                            department             routes

                                               Page 25                                        GAO/RCED-99-241    National     Scenic Byways   Program

                                                Appendix Ill
                                                Selected Features     of Scenic Byway
                                                Programs/Activities      in 10 States

                                                                                                               Who manages or
                                                                                        What happens           oversees the   How are the
                                                               Who designates           after                  program/       routes
Program/activity   Main purpose      Scope of routes           the routes?              designation?           activity?      promoted?
  Mohawk Trail     Promote tourism   One 63-mile route Route constructed                Private                Private                 Various public and
                                     linking the        in 1914 as a                    association and        association             private-sector
                                     northeast &        scenic road                     state tourism          promotes                maps and
                                     northwest parts of                                 office promote the     activities and          publications
                                     the state                                          route                  attractions along       highlight the route
                                                                                                               the route               and its attractions;
                                                                                                                                       route shown on
                                                                                                                                       state highway
  Open Space       Preserve scenic   116 acres of land         State legislature        State agencies,        State                   Signs put up on
                   beauty            acquired     along 4      authorizes               private   groups,      transportation          preserved   parcels
                                     routes                    acquisition of           and local              department              along adjacent
                                                               scenic roadside          governments            advisory                route
                                                               parcels based on         acquire land           committee; land
                                                               recommendation           which can only be      maintained by
                                                               of state                 used for               local groups, state
                                                               transportation           conservation and       agencies, or
                                                               department               recreation             conservation
                                                                                        purposes               commissions
  Great River      Promote tourism   700-mile section of State legislature              Signs put up           Legrslatrve             Variety of books,
  Road             and increase      a route through 10                                 along the route;       commission              maps, and
                   recreational      states and                                         amenities built or     coordinates work        brochures
                   enjoyment         Canada that runs                                   improved; some         with several state      available for the
                                     the length of the                                  road constructton      agencies                sections in the
                                     Mrssissippi River                                  and maintenance                                state; legislative
                                     (does not Include                                                                                 commission
                                     420-mile portion of                                                                               promotes route in
                                     a federally funded                                                                                foreign countries;
                                     route)                                                                                            signs put up along
                                                                                                                                       the road; route
                                                                                                                                       shown on the
                                                                                                                                       state mao
  ko;g;tive        Promote tourism   19 routes and 2           State legislature        Some                   State                   Brochures and
                                     bridges                                            construction of        transportation          maps developed
                                                                                        roadside facilities;   department              for some routes by
                                                                                        increased road                                 local groups;
                                                                                        maintenance;                                   signs put up along
                                                                                        signs put up along                             the routes
                                                                                        the route
  North Shore      Preserve scenic   150-mile section of       Route not                Construction of        Board of local          Sians put UD
  Drive            beauty            highway along the         designated,    but 3     roadside and           officials, state        al&g the route;
                                     northern border of        other byway              recreation             transportation and      various
                                     Lake Supenor              programs have            facilities;            natural resources       publications and
                                                               desrgnated parts         increased road         departments             maps promote
                                                               of the route (Lake       marntenance and                                attractions and
                                                               Superior Circle          landscaping                                    amenities along
                                                               Tour, US. Forest                                                        the route; some
                                                               Service scenrc                                                          promotion in
                                                               byway, and a                                                            international
                                                               legislatively                                                           markets
                                                               desianated route)

                                                Page 26                                            GAO/RCED96-241       National   Scenic Byways   Program

                                            Appendix III
                                            Selected Features     of Scenic Byway
                                            Programs/Activities      in 10 States

                                                                                                         Who manages or
                                                                                    What happens         oversees the   How are the
                                                           Who designates           after                program/       routes
Program/activity   Main purpose      Scope of routes       the routes?              designation?         activity?      promoted?
  Wildflower       Preserve and      6 routes covering    State                     Environmentally      State                   Signs put up
  Routes           improve scenic    a total of 238 miles transportation            sensitive            transportation and      along the routes;
                   beauty                                 department in             landscape            natural resource        local media
                                                          consultation with         management;          departments, local      promotion and
                                                          the natural               some recreatron      governments             dedication
                                                          resources and             facilities built,                            ceremonies
                                                          tourism                   planting some
                                                          departments               native flowers and
                                                                  r                 grasses
New York
  Auto Trails      Economic          11 routes in the       State legislature       Signs put up         Private nonprofit       Maps, brochures,
                   development       northern part of                               along routes,        organization            and other material
                                     the state                                      promotional                                  distributed by
                                                                                    materials                                    state tourism
                                                                                    developed                                    off ice and private
                                                                                                                                 describe scenic,
                                                                                                                                 historic, or
                                                                                                                                 attractions along
                                                                                                                                 some routes
  Parkways         Increase          13 routes covering     Routes built in the     Special              State                   Not currently
                   recreational      a total of 160         early 1900s as          landscaping and      transportation          promoted by state
                   enjoyment         miles, mainly in       parkways and            guardrails           department; state       tourism office
                                     metropolitan New       were not                designed to          off ice of parks,
                                     York City              designated              enhanceand           recreation, and
                                                            afterward               maintain aesthetic   historic
                                                                                    driving              preservation
                                                                                    several routes
                                                                                    listed on the
                                                                                    National Registry
                                                                                    of Historic Places
  Scenic Roads     Preserve scenic   29 road segments       Local groups            Local government     State                   Program
                   beauty            covering a total of    submit                  encouraged to        environmental           promoted to local
                                     104 miles along        nominations;            adopt a corridor     conservation            or regional
                                     town, county, and      environmental           management plan      department              planning boards;
                                     state roads,           conservation            to protect and                               local government
                                     mainly in the          department              preserve the                                 has the option of
                                     Hudson River           approves                natural, cultural,                           putting up signs
                                     Valley                 designation             and scenic                                   along a route
                                                                                    adjacent to the

                                            Page 27                                          GAO/RCED90-241     National     Scenic Byways   Program
                                               Appendix III
                                               Selected Features     of Scenic Byway
                                               Programs/Activities      in 10 States

                                                                                                           Who manages or
                                                                                       What happens        oversees the   How are the
                                                              Who designates           after               program/       routes
Program/activity   Main purpose         Scope of routes       the routes?              designation?        activity?      promoted?
  Historic and     Recognize historic   9 highways, 11        Citizens advisory        Construction or     State                   Booklet published
  Scenic           and scenic           bridges, and 5        committee                landscaping         transportation          by state
  Highways         highway              rockwork sites        recommends;              activity must be    department              transportation
                   construction                               state                    approved by state                           department but
                                                              transportation           transportation                              routes and sites
                                                              department               department; signs                           are not promoted
                                                              designates               put up at sites                             by state tourism
                                                                                                                                   office; some
                                                                                                                                   routes promoted
                                                                                                                                   by local
  Scenic Areas     Preserve scenic      Scenic areas          Board in the state       Advertising signs   State                   Not currently
                   beauty               along 3,451 miles     highway                  and junkyards       transportation          promoted by state
                                        of state and          department               removed in          department              tourism office
                                        federal highways      approved locally         designated areas    monitors
                                        in all parts of the   nominated routes                             compliance along
                                        state                                                              routes
  Scenic Routes    Promote tourism      16 loop tours and     Local chambers of Signs unique to            Chambers of             Brochures and
  and Loop Tours                        alternative routes    commerce          each route put up          commerce                maps highlighting
                                                                                along some of the          coordinate              attractions in the
                                                                                roads                      promotion efforts       area printed for
                                                                                                           with state tourism      each route by
                                                                                                           office; state           local chambers of
                                                                                                           transportation          commerce; state
                                                                                                           department puts         tourism office lists
                                                                                                           up signs along          routes in state
                                                                                                           routes                  booklet; signs put
                                                                                                                                   up along some
  Scenic           Preserve scenic      5 urban routes         Routes identified   Controls are            State                   Not currently
  Highways         beauty               and 17 rural           by local officials  placed on outdoor       transportation          promoted by state
                                        routes covering a      and approved by     advertising,            department or           tourism office
                                        total of 234 miles     the state           junkyards, and on       local agency with
                                                               legislature         buildings               jurisdiction over
                                                                                   constructed             the route
                                                                                   adjacent to the
  Scenic           Promote tourism      39 parkways            28 routes           Some                    State                  Over 2,000
  Parkways                              coverina a total of    desianated bv the construction of           transportation     and highway signs
                                        2,810 m:les in an      stat&legislature in roadside facilities;    tourism                installed; state
                                        interconnected         1982; 11 routes     landscaping along       departments            tourism brochure
                                        system linking         designated later    the routes; signs                              highlights historic
                                        state parks,           by the state        put up along the                               sites, parks, and
                                        historic sites, and    transportation      routes                                         other attractions
                                        tourist attractions    department

                                                Page 28                                        GAO/RCEWJO-241      National    Scenic Byways   Program
                                              Appendix III
                                              Selected Features     of Scenic Byway
                                              Programs/Activities      in 10 States

                                                                                                              Who manages or
                                                                                      What happens            oversees the   How are the
                                                             Who designates           after                   program/       routes
Program/activity     Main purpose      Scope of routes       the routes?              designation?            activity?      promoted?
   Virginia Byways   Preserve scenic   33 individual          State                   Local                   State                  State highway
                     beauty            routes covering a      transportation          governments             transportation     and map indicates
                                       total of 553 miles     board                   control land use        conservation/          routes; signs put
                                                                                      along scenic            recreation             up along the
                                                                                      corridor; state         departments            routes
                                                                                      conducts yearly
                                                                                      inspections to
                                                                                      make sure the
                                                                                      route meets the
                                                                                      minimum criteria;
                                                                                      some roadside
 Cascade Loop        Promote tourism   400-mile loop          Private nonprofit       Private nonprofit       Private nonprofit       Signs put up
                                       throuah mountain       association             association             association             along the route;
                                       and c%astal                                    promotes the                                    traveler’s guide
                                       regions In the                                 route; signs put                                promotes
                                       north and central                              up along the route                              attractions and
                                       parts of the state                                                                             amenities in areas
                                                                                                                                      alona the route
  Scenic and         Preserve scenic   27 separate          State legislature         Some land               State                   Signs put up
  Recreation         beauty            routes covering a                              purchased along         transportation          along the route:
  Highways                             total of 1,909 miles                           the routes;             department              brochures
                                                                                      landscaping to                                  describe
                                                                                      create better                                   attractions along
                                                                                      views; some                                     the routes
                                                                                      scenic turnouts
  Scenic Vistas      Preserve scenic   12 separate            State legislature       Most highway            State                   Not currently
                     beauty            routes covering a                              billboards              transportation          promoted by state
                                       total of 455 miles;                            removed                 department              tourism off ice
                                       also includes 27
                                       routes that are
                                       part of the Scenic
                                       and Recreation
  Utilities          Control           Scenic character       State                   Aerieal utilities are   State                   Not currentlv
  Accommodation      construction or   of over 7,000 miles    transportation          buried or               transportation          promoted by state
                     development       of state highway       department and          relocated along         department              tourism off ice
                                       has been               state utility           selected scenic
                                       assessed               coordinating            sections of state
                                                              council                 highways

                                               Page 29                                          GAO/RCED-90-241       National    Scenic Byways   Program

                                             Appendix III
                                             Selected Features     of Scenic Byway
                                             Programs/Activities      in 10 States

                                                                                                           Who manages or
                                                                                     What happens          oversees the   How are the
                                                            Who designates           after                 program/       routes
Proaram/activitv    Main DurDose      Scope of routes       the routes?              designation?          activitv?      promoted?
  Lake Michigan     Promote tourism   I lOO-mrle Lake        Route identified        Signs put up          Private nonprofit       Signs put up
  and Lake                            Michigan Circle        by private              along both routes;    associations            along both routes;
  Superior Circle                     Tour runs through      nonprofit               promotional                                   maps and
  Tours                               4 states: 1300-mile    assocrations            material                                      booklets promote
                                      Lake Superior                                  developed                                     attractions and
                                      Crrcle Tour runs                                                                             amenities along
                                      through 3 states                                                                             the routes
                                      and Canada
  Auto Tours        Promote tourism   23 separate            State tourism           Routes publicized     State tourism           Book describes
                                      routes covering a      office                  in state tourism      office                  attractions and
                                      total of 4147 miles                            book                                          side trips available
                                                                                                                                   along the routes
  Rustic Roads      Preserve scenic   55 separate            Private                 Future land use       Board in the state      Signs put up
                    beauty            routes covering a      landowners, In          and roadway           transportation          along the routes;
                                      total of 280 miles,    conjunction with        improvements          department              brochure and map
                                      located pnmanly        local or county         should preserve                               describe the
                                      in rural areas         government,             rustic character of                           program and each
                                                             request                 route; signs put                              route, program
                                                             desrgnatron;            up along the                                  mentioned in state
                                                             board In the state      route; speed limit                            tounsm
                                                             transportation          restricted                                    publications
                                                             desrgnates routes
                                             aThe scenic byways programs and act&es       listed for each state are not exhaustive but are intended to
                                             show the diverse nature of the byway efforts in the 10 states reviewed.

                                              Page 30                                         GAO/RCED+O-241      National     Scenic Byways    Program
Appendix IV

Federal Seek Byway FYogramsand Activities

                        This appendix summarizes the scenic byway programs managed by the
                        Department of the Interior’s National Park Service (NPS), and the Bureau
                        of Land Management, and the Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest
                        Service, and discusses prior scenic byway studies conducted by federal
                        agencies or commissions.

                        Since the 1930s NPS has maintained a system of parkways and other
National Park Service   scenic routes in the National Parks. Routes are designated either by the
Parkways                Congress or the NFS as parkways or scenic or historic routes.

                        Perhaps the most well-known type of designated routes are “park-
                        ways,” which are routes designated by the Congress. Essentially, park-
                        ways are elongated federal parks designed for pleasure driving on
                        routes with scenic, recreational, historical or other features of national
                        significance. As of June 1990, there were nine parkways located mainly
                        in East Coast and Southeastern States. One well-known parkway, for
                        example, is the Blue Ridge Parkway, established by the Congress in
                        1936. The route was designed specifically as a scenic route and extends
                        470 miles through the southern Appalachian Mountains of western Vir-
                        ginia and North Carolina.

                        Other routes have been approved by the NPS for inclusion on the
                        National Register of Historic Places because of their unique settings, his-
                        toric values, or design features. Routes such as the Going-to-the-Sun
                        Road in Glacier National Park and the Generals’ Highway in Sequoia
                        National Park are examples of such routes.

                        In 1988, the U.S. Forest Service created a National Forest Scenic Byways
U.S. Forest Service     program as part of its national recreational strategy. The main objec-
ScenicByway             tives of this program are to provide greater public awareness of
Program                 National Forest activities and recreational opportunities; to meet
                        increased demand for pleasure driving; to showcase outstanding
                        National Forest scenery; and to increase the use of National Forests by
                        urban minorities, the disadvantaged, and the elderly.

                        As of May 1990, the Forest Service had designated 71 Scenic Byway
                        routes covering over 3,761 miles located in 31 states. The Forest Service
                        identifies and designates its byways using specific designation criteria,
                        and seeks the concurrence of states or local groups if prospective routes
                        traverse their respective jurisdictions. According to an agency official,
                        the main designation criteria used by the agency emphasizes routes with

                        Page 31                           GAO/FKXD-99-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
                     Appendix IV
                     Federal Scenic Byway Programs
                     and Activities

                     a high degree of scenic, historic, or recreational features; routes safe for
                     driving by passenger car; and routes whose designation is consistent
                     with existing National Forest plans.

                     Funding for Forest Service scenic byways comes from partnerships with
                     several companies and, to a lesser extent, from agency funds. The Forest
                     Service has established a partnership with the Harley Davidson Com-
                     pany and has executed a collection agreement with the Forest Education
                     Foundation, which has formed partnerships with the Plymouth Division
                     of the Chrysler Corporation. These companies will provide funding for
                     signs, brochures, and other promotional activities. A Forest Service offi-
                     cial told us that Forest Service moneys have been or will be spent for
                     signing, building turn-outs or interpretive sites, and roadway mainte-
                     nance costs due to increased traffic.

                     In 1988, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) created a program
Bureau of Land       of Back Country Byways. The main goals of BLM'S program are to pro-
Management           vide greater awareness of recreational activities available on BLM land,
Backcountry Byways   provide more opportunities for pleasure driving in back country areas,
                     and boost local economies through increased tourism. Other goals of the
Program              program are to facilitate partnerships at the local, state, and national
                     levels and to help recreational visitors understand the multiple uses of
                     BLM land through interpretative signs and information.

                     As of June 1990, BLM had designated 34 Back Country Byway routes
                     covering 1,644 miles in length in 11 western states. Back Country
                     Byways are divided into four types, which range from paved roads with
                     grades negotiable by passenger automobiles to trails designed for off-
                     road vehicles, trail bikes, or snowmobiles. Like the Forest Service, BLM
                     identifies and designates routes using specific designation criteria. BLM
                     also seeks concurrence from local and state officials when routes being
                     considered for designation traverse state or local jurisdictions.

                     Like the Forest Service, BLM has established partnerships to help pay for
                     promotional or other costs associated with Back Country Byways. BLM
                     has a cooperative agreement with the American Recreation Coalition
                     which, in turn, has formed partnership agreements with the Farmers
                     Insurance Company and American Isuzu Motors Corporation. These
                     companies provide funding for maps, brochures and signs, entrance sta-
                     tions, and interpretive waysides along the routes. A BLM official told us
                     that because of the funding agreements with private companies, BLM has
                     reduced the amount of federal funds spent on the program.

                     Page 32                            GAO/RCED-90-241 National Scenic Byways Program
                           Appendix IV
                           Federal Scenic Byway Programs
                           and Activities

                           Although federal involvement in scenic byways has been evident since
Prior Federal Scenic       the 1930s interest in creating a national system of scenic byways did
Byway Studies              not emerge until the 1960s. In 1962, the federal Recreation Advisory
                           Council recommended the development of a national program of scenic
                           roads and parkways and tasked the Department of Commerce’s Bureau
                           of Public Roads to study the development of such a program. The study,
                           published in 1966, recommended development of a $4 billion national
                           scenic roads program over a lo-year period. Also, in 1965, President
                           Lyndon B. Johnson hosted a White House Conference on Natural
                           Beauty, which produced legislative proposals for scenic improvements
                           and preservation along the nation’s roadside. Such efforts led to enact-
                           ment of the 1965 Highway Beautification Act, which provided for con-
                           trol of junkyards and outdoor advertising and increased expenditures
                           for landscaping and other scenic enhancements. Implementation of a
                           national scenic road program did not occur during the late 1960s and
                           early 1970s because of competing budgetary and policy demands,
                           according to the Federal Highway Administration (F’HWA).

                           In 1973, the Congress directed FHWA to study the feasibility of devel-
                           oping a national scenic byway program. The purpose of the study was to
                           develop an inventory of the nation’s scenic roadways, identify measures
                           for preserving and enhancing those resources, and identify costs and
                           issues related to implementing a scenic highway program. On the basis
                           of data submitted by states and federal agencies, the inventory con-
                           sisted of 1,781 scenic byway routes totalling 93,000 miles. About 81,000
                           of those miles were on existing routes, with the remainder proposed as
                           new construction.

                           The study identified five major components of a byway system that
                           would have to be addressed if a national scenic byway program were

                       l   National designation of scenic routes, which would require minimal
                           investment and designated certain existing highways or highway seg-
                           ments as components of a national system. Special signs could be
                           erected, maps and brochures published, and a media promotion program
                       l   Scenic enhancement and corridor protection, in which attention would
                           be directed to preserving and enhancing the scenic qualities of selected
                           highway corridors. Various means would be considered, including the
                           purchase of additional rights-of-way or the procurement of scenic

                           Page 33                          GAO/RCED-99-241 National Scenic Byways Program

    Appendix IV
    Federal Scenic Byway Programs
    and Activities

l   Complementary facilities, aimed at improving scenic highway use by
    upgrading the condition of existing facilities, such as overlooks, picnic
    areas, walkways, and water facilities, and adding new ones.
l   Urban emphasis and energy efficiency, to improve and protect scenic
    resources within an hour’s travel of major population centers.
l   National connectivity, a small program in which emphasis would be to
    improve access to recreation areas and to link recreation resources,
    including scenic highways, and, historical, scientific, and cultural sites
    to one another.

    The study recommended that a series of high-quality scenic highways be
    designated which would cost between $800 million to $1.8 billion over a
    lo- to 20-year period. The study cited no technical barriers to estab-
    lishing a national system of scenic highways. However, given the need to
    conserve energy resources at that time, the study concluded that it was
    not in the national interest to establish a new Federal-Aid Highway cate-
    gorical grant program exclusively for the construction or reconstruction
    of scenic highways.

    In 1986, the President’s Commission on Americans Outdoors reempha-
    sized the importance of recreational driving for many Americans. The
    Commission made three recommendations concerning scenic byways:

    1. State and local governments should create a network of scenic
    byways, on the basis of their own criteria and standards, and take
    actions to preserve resources along those roadways and thoroughfares.
    Byway designations should be based on local land-planning guidelines
    and zoning ordinances.

    2. The Congress should establish an incentive program of matching
    grants to local and state governments to encourage scenic byway desig-
    nations. Grants, initially funded for 2 years from Highway Trust F’und
    revenues, could be used for safety improvements, removal of inappro-
    priate billboards, and construction of scenic vista or interpretive turn-
    outs, or picnic or sanitary facilities.

    3. Information concerning scenic byways should be made available
    through partnerships between the private sector and all levels of gov-
    ernment. Local and state governments should determine which roads
    and routes should be part of the byway system. The federal government
    could provide technical assistance and grants to encourage byway desig-
    nation but should not mandate program activities. Private organizations,
    local chambers of commerce, historic preservations offices, and natural

    Page 34                            GAO/RCED-90-241   National   Scenic Byways   Program

        Appendix IV
        Federal Scenic Byway Programs
        and Activities

        heritage organizations should also play an integral part in identifying
        and designating scenic byways.

        In response to the interest of the President’s Commission in scenic
        byways, several federal agencies have studied scenic byways further. In
        1988, for example, the Federal Highway Administration published the
        book Scenic Byways, which provided definitions and a history of
        byways as well as many examples of local, state, and federally desig-
        nated byways. The book was published as a reference guide for partici-
        pants at the Scenic Byways 1988 national conference. In 1989, the
        Federal Task Force on Rural Tourism recommended that a “national
        policy on scenic byways” be developed to stimulate rural tourism and
        economic growth.

        There has also been recent interest in the Congress and by states and
        private organizations in creating a national scenic byways program. As
        a result, in November 1989, the Congress requested that FHWA conduct a
        nationwide study of scenic byways. The study, to be published in
        November 1990, will include an updated national inventory of existing
        scenic byways; guidelines for developing a national program, case
        studies on the economic impact of byways, and an analysis of the safety
        and environmental consequences of byway designation.

        Page 35                           GAO/RCED-W241   National   Scenic Byways   Program
Appendix V
Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

               In a May 19, 1989, letter and in subsequent discussion with his office,
               the Chairman, Subcommittee on Foreign Commerce and Tourism, Senate
               Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, asked us to (1)
               determine the characteristics of selected scenic byway programs and
               activities, (2) determine the criteria states use to designate byways, and
               (3) identify issues raised by scenic byway officials concerning the crea-
               tion of a national scenic byways program.

               To address these objectives, we analyzed 27 scenic byways programs
               and activities in 10 states: Arizona, California, Massachusetts, Minne-
               sota, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wis-
               consin. These states were selected because they provided a sample of
               byway programs and activities that were diverse in size, geographic
               location, and program purpose. On the basis of discussions with FHWA
               officials, we also contacted four states without byway programs-Loui-
               siana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Wyoming-to determine their rea-
               sons for not having a byway program and to obtain their views
               concerning a national scenic byway program.

                In each state, we interviewed state and private-sector officials in trans-
                portation, natural resource, tourism, and other agencies responsible for
                managing byway programs or activities. We obtained agency or organi-
                zational documents and reports pertaining to scenic byways. We also
                conducted a telephone survey of managers of 27 programs and activities
                in 10 states. The survey asked questions about their programs and
                activities and their views on the creation of a national scenic byways

                We interviewed federal officials responsible for administering scenic
                byway or byway-related programs, including FHWA officials in Wash-
                ington, D.C., and in various field offices, and officials of the U.S. Forest
                Service; Bureau of Land Management; NPS; and U.S. Travel and Tourism
                Administration. At each agency, we obtained any relevant scenic
                byway-related documents, studies, or reports.

                To identify issues which should be considered if a national scenic byway
                program were created, we also interviewed officials with seven private
                groups with an interest in scenic byways: the American Automobile
                Association, American Association of State Highway and Transportation
                Officials, American Recreation Coalition, Highway Users Federation,
                National Trust for Historic Preservation, Scenic America, and the Travel
                and Tourism Government Affairs Council. We selected these groups on
                the basis of their activities, interest, and knowledge relating to scenic

                Page 36                            GAO/FtCELb90-241   National   Scenic Byways       Program