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Yes, You Can Get Off TheInterstate!
Tere’s no doubt that the Interstate Sys-tem has enhanced automobile travel, makingautomobile travel around the nation ast andaordable. Tere are times when it’s the best,or even only, option. But it can be ar rommemorable, what with the same old scenery,ast ood joints, chain hotels and heavy trac. Ready or a change? Why not take adrive or a trip on one o our national or statescenic byways. Te National Scenic Byways Program wasestablished in 1992 to help recognize, pre-serve and enhance selected roads throughoutthe United States. Te U.S. Secretary o ransportation recognizes certain roads asAmerica’s Byways®, placing them in one o two categories: All-American Roads or Na-tional Scenic Byways, based on one or moreo these six intrinsic qualities: archaeologi-cal, cultural, historic, natural, recreational orscenic. o be designated as a National ScenicByway, a road must possess at least oneo the six intrinsic qualities, and be o regional signifcance. o be designated asan All-American Road, a road must possessmultiple intrinsic qualities, be o nationalsignifcance and contain one-o-a-kindeatures that do not exist elsewhere. Teroad must also be considered a “destinationunto itsel”, making it the primary destina-tion or a trip and providing an exceptionaltravel experience. As o November 2009,there were a total o 151 America’s Byways®,31 All-American, and 131 National ScenicByways.*North Carolina is home to severalNational Byways: the Blue Ridge Parkway (All-American), the Cherohala Skyway,the Forest Heritage National Scenic Byway and the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. Butit doesn’t stop there. Te state has desig-nated an additional 54 scenic byways thathighlight the state’s history, geography andculture. Many o them are in our backyard,giving us opportunities to enjoy some o thestate’s most breathtaking scenery.And i that’s not enough, there are 150other distinctive roads managed by otheragencies. Among these are the NationalForest Scenic Byways, the Bureau o LandManagement’s Back Country Byways, By- ways that also enter into National WildlieReuges, and special sites included in theNational Register o Historic Places o theUnited States: http://www.byways.org/explore/byways/other.So, what are you waiting or? You’ve gota lot o roads to explore! o get started with your research, visit the NC DO website:http://ncdot.org/travel/scenic/#. It oersmaps, videos and interactive tools. Othergreat resources are Scenic America’s website:http://www.scenic.org/byways, and theNational Scenic Byways ocial site: http:// www.byways.org/.* Historic Route 66 is listed in both cat-egories - the Arizona portion is designatedas an All-American Road, while the otherportions are designated as National ScenicByways.
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© 2008 A. Elizabeth WatsonPhoto courtesy: State of Tennessee
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