July 30, 2008, Kingston Daily Freeman “Session will examine benefits of Scenic Byway for Route 28″

ARKVILLE – The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development tonight will host Nancy Alexander, a landscape architect with the state Department of Transportation, who will speak on the merits of designating state Route 28 a scenic byway.

The session begins at 6 p.m. and is open to the public.

Alexander is the program manager for the 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 designations to foster economic development that benefits tourists and locals alike while enhancing and revitalizing community assets.

The state Scenic Byways Program, created in 1992 by the state Legislature, is said to encourage both economic development and resource conservation.

On Monday, the Catskill Center’s Peter Manning said the set up tonight’s event after a newly formed group called the Central Catskills Collaborative told him its 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 from both the state and federal governments.

The guidelines of New York state’s Scenic Byway Program are flexible. Local, county and state roads are eligible, and each byway involves multiple communities. A byway is organized around at least one theme based on related resources located along the byway corridor. These resources can be things like landmarks, buildings, mountains, vistas, businesses, parks or historical sites – nearly anything of interest or value than is visible from, adjacent to, accessed by or associated with the road.

TYPICAL themes include:

* Scenic, including natural or cultural landscape elements that provide an unusually appealing or memorable visual experience. Examples include landforms, water bodies, vegetation patterns or structures.

* Natural, which might include distinctive geologic formations, topography, climate, hydrologic features (i.e., rivers, lakes, wetlands and oceans) or habitats for wildlife.

* Recreational, which 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, 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 also may be based on sites of ethnic importance, or working landscapes, such as those related to farming, forestry or working waterfronts.

* Historical (including Archaeological), 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 also may 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.

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