Property Rights Foundation of America®
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23 Scenic Byways, 13 All-American Roads added to the list and mapped

New National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads Designated

A Scenic Byway must pass one of six tests, each All-American Roads must be a "destination unto itself."

By Carol W. LaGrasse
December 2002

The 36 new National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads designated on June 13, 2002 by U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta brought the total of highways so restricted to 95. In the Secretary's official announcement, he pointed out only the positives attributed to the program, with private property rights issues ignored. The scenic highway program is to promote tourism.

"The America's Byways are roads to the heart and soul of America," said Secretary Mineta. "They connect us to this country's beauty, history and culture."

The announcement does not mention the restrictions that come into place as management plans are completed and implemented through local laws, or the federal prohibition on what are deceptively referred to as "billboards," but which include virtually all new viewable business signs.

The addition of 23 new National Scenic Byways brings the total federal Byways to 75 and the 13 additional All-American Roads, a stricter classification, brings this total to 20.

The full Department of Transportation press release is posted on the National Scenic Byways program's web site:

On December 9, 2002, the U.S. Department of Transportation made available the latest version of the National Scenic Byways Program map for free distribution. The map has descriptions, photos, location plots and contact information for each nationally designated byway.

Copies are available for organizations for free distribution from Ken Petty at 1-800-4BYWAYS, ext. 3. Single copies of the map can be requested on the program web site: or by calling 1-800-4BYWAYS, ext. 1.

Scenic Byways must possess one of six qualities - archaeological, cultural, historic, natural recreational, and scenic - and must by regionally significant. To reach the higher rung of All-American Road status, the road possess multiple intrinsic qualities that are nationally significant and have one-of-a-kind features that do not exist elsewhere. Motorists must consider taking the road such an exceptional traveling experience that they would make that a primary goal for taking a trip. The road is thereby considered a "destination unto itself."

In addition to the Scenic Byways designated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, many states have designated additional Scenic Byways. For information about these, each individual State Department of Transportation must be contacted.

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