NORTH COUNTRY SCENIC BYWAYS COUNCIL
THE NORTH COUNTRY SCENIC BYWAYS COUNCIL
The North Country Scenic Byways Council is responsible for developing and maintaining management plans for the scenic and cultural byways in northern New Hampshire. Members of the council represent communities served by the byways, state departments concerned with transportation and tourism, regional planning groups, and nonprofit organizations that promote the use of the byways to reach the many attractions of the North Country of New Hampshire. The North Country Scenic Byways Council is a committee of the North Country Council (NCC), the regional planning agency for northern New Hampshire. A chief mission of the North Country Scenic Byways Council is to promote the use, enjoyment and preservation of the scenic and cultural resources found along the byways. As stated in Section 2A of its bylaws, the North Country Scenic Byways Council is organized for scientific, community development, recreational, and educational purposes to:
1. Promote existing local businesses, including local artists, agriculture, and tourist related businesses located along the North Country Scenic Byways;
2. Balance the promotion, preservation, enjoyment, and stewardship of the North Country Scenic Byways;
3. Encourage the public to investigate the resources of the North Country Scenic Byways;
4. Work with municipalities, state agencies and other interested parties to ensure that the North Country Scenic Byways be clearly marked, safe and attractive for both visitors and residents;
5. Encourage the stewardship, use and promotion of the many recreational opportunities along the North Country Scenic Byways;
6. Serve as or identify the central point of contact for the Moose Path Trail, Presidential Range Trail, River Heritage Trail, Woodland Heritage Trail, White Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway and other scenic byways as adopted by the Council; and
7. Serve as or identify the responsible party in the development, adoption, revision, and implementation of Corridor Management Plans for the Moose Path Trail, Presidential Range Trail, River Heritage Trail, Woodland Heritage Trail, White Mountain Trail National Scenic Byway, and other scenic byways as adopted by the Council.
new Hampshire's scenic & cultural byways program
New Hampshire’s Scenic & Cultural Byways Program was initiated in 1992 in response to a newly created federal program. In order to be eligible for federal funding, each state had to establish its own program and establish a mechanism for designating byways and for allocating funds to byway improvements.
The purpose of the NH byways program is stated in RSA 238:19:
The scenic and cultural byways system is established to provide the opportunity for residents and visitors to travel a system of byways which feature the scenic and cultural qualities of the state within the existing highway system, promote retention of rural and urban scenic byways, support the cultural, recreational and historic attributes along these byways and expose the unique elements of the state’s beauty, culture and history.
The New Hampshire Scenic and Cultural Byways Council is responsible for designating byways. According to RSA 238:22, all New Hampshire designated byways must have exceptional scenic and cultural qualities:
Possesses significant visible natural or cultural features along its border such as agricultural lands, farms, significant architectural attributes, historic sites, town and city centers, museums, cottage industries, panoramic views, vistas of marshes, shorelines or forests, or notable geological or other natural features.
Accessible to natural and cultural features such as cultural facilities, historic sites, town and city centers, trails, lakes, rivers, streams, mountains, the seacoast, bike paths, agricultural land, parks or protected lands that are open to the public, etc.
Is free from intensive commercial development and obstructive signage that would detract from the principal reason for its designation.
Procedures defined by the NH Scenic and Cultural Byways Council require a byway management committee to have representatives of every town that the byway passes through. The management committee must develop and implement a management plan that describes the scenic and cultural resources of the area served by the byway and provides a mechanisms for monitoring the byway to ensure that it continues to offer visitors a safe, enjoyable experience. According to state law, a corridor management plan must, as a minimum, include the following:
Identification and discussion of the intrinsic qualities of the byway.
Current infrastructure conditions and maintenance plans for the corridor.
Current types and volumes of traffic and safety concerns along the corridor.
Identification of visitor amenities, needs and expectations along the corridor.
Byway promotional plans.