The National Scenic Byways Program is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. The program was established in 1991 to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads based on factors such as archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic intrinsic qualities.
Once a road is designated a National Scenic Byways or an All-American Road, the managaing agency can compete for grant funding under eight categories: 1) State Programs, 2) Corridor Management Plan, 3) Safety Improvements, 4) Byway Facilities, 5) Access to Recreation, 6) Resource Protection, 7) Interpretive Information, and 8) Marketing.
The National Scenic Byways Program enables the NPS to take advantage of a grassroots program that focuses on enhancing the visitor experience and managing, restoring and preserving scenic or historic roads. A successful Byways program shares one essential component: partnership. While national parks are public lands, they are at the same time extensions of local communities. The Byways program provides an opportunity for national parks to collaborate with partners-such as state and local governments, gateway communities, and other stakeholders-and allows the NPS to tap into the skills of a larger community and extend its mission outside park boundaries.
Parks should involve other partners when submitting a grant application to the Scenic Byways program. Grant applications require a minimum 20% match; parks can use appropriated funds as this match (i.e. Federal Lands Highway Program Funds or Recreation Fees). Federal Highway provides 80% for eligible projects. This could be very beneficial to a park who may have existing approved NPS projects identified. If the approved project meets one of the 8 eligible categories under the Scenic Byways Program, instead of having to fund the entire project, a park would only need to use 20% of NPS funds and the remaining 80% of NPS funds could be applied to another approved park project.
Click here to learn more about the National Scenic Byways Program.
The National Park Service has a National Scenic Byways Guide (May 2002) available here as a .pdf (450kb).