Rte. 28 Scenic Byway designation considered

By Jay Braman Jr.
The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development in Arkville will host an evening with Nancy Alexander, landscape architect with the New York State Department of Transportation, who will speak tonight on the merits of making Route 28 a designated scenic byway.
Alexander is the program manager for New York State’s Scenic Byways Program and is responsible for assisting local byway groups with the development of Corridor Management Plans and designation nominations. In other parts of the state Alexander has giver her talk, “The road you want to travel: How scenic byways can help build local economies” to teach how communities have used byway designation to foster economic development that benefits tourists and locals alike while enhancing and revitalizing community assets.
The New York State Scenic Byways program was created in 1992 by the state legislature. The program is said to encourage both economic development and resource conservation.
On Monday The Catskill Center’s Peter Manning said that he set up the event after a newly formed group called the Central Catskills Collaborative told him they wanted to hear more about the possibility of making the Route 28 corridor a scenic byway.
The collaborative, assembled at the request of The Catskill Center, is a group of representatives from six communities along the Route 28 corridor, from Andes to Olive, who are exploring ways to protect and promote the corridor’s unique resources. Last month all the communities applied for a portion of $500,000 offered by the state to enhance the area, and Manning says the Scenic Byway designation could lead to more funding on both the state and federal level.
New York State’s Scenic Byway Program guidelines are flexible. Local, county and state roads are eligible; each byway involves multiple communities. A byway is organized around at least one theme. A theme is based on related resources that are located along the byway corridor. These resources can be things like landmarks, buildings, mountains, vistas, businesses, parks, historical sites. . . nearly anything of interest or value that is visible from, adjacent to, accessed by or associated with the road.

Typical themes include:
Scenic Themes include natural or cultural landscape elements that provide an unusually appealing or memorable visual experience. Examples include landforms, water bodies, vegetation patterns or structures.
Natural Themes might include distinctive geologic formations, topography, climate, hydrologic features (e.g., rivers, lakes, wetlands, and oceans) or habitats for wildlife.
Recreational Themes can be based on both active and passive recreational features. Examples include state and local parks, reforestation areas, hiking trails, ski areas, water access points or indoor recreation facilities.
Cultural Themes are based on elements that have been significant in the course of human events. Examples might include churches, museums, educational institutions or other civic facilities. Cultural themes may also be based on sites of ethnic importance, or working landscapes, such as those related to farming, forestry or working waterfronts.
Historical (including Archaeological) Themes can be based on significant historical sites, districts or structures. They might be based on locations where pivotal historic events took place, even if there is no remaining physical evidence of those events. They may also be based on locations associated with an individual or group that impacted history. Roads themselves may hold some historical significance. Archaeological resources might consist of evidence or artifacts from farms, hunting and gathering areas, burial sites, settlements or buildings.
There is neither a minimum nor a maximum length for a byway. It only needs to be long enough to tell its story.
The public is welcome to attend the meeting, which will be held at The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development in Arkville tonight at 6 p.m.
For more information contact Manning, Catskill Center regional planner at 586-2611.