Recommendation 6: Review and Consider Alternative Programs, Policies, and Actions for the America's Byways® Coll
- Utilize all the alternate recommendations to facilitate discussion and debate .
- Recognize the continued evolution of the program and the need for thought provoking dialogue and intellectual challenges.
Why do it:
Recommendations One through Five are intended for immediate consideration by the Program. The following points summarize options, considerations, and recommendations identified by the Assessing and Sustaining the Quality of the America's Byways® Collection task order which do not lend themselves to the same immediacy or universality as the ideas presented in the previous recommendations. Nonetheless, these ideas are critical to advancing the quality principles laid out earlier in this document.
How to do it:
The ideas presented here should be considered by State and Indian tribe coordinators, local byways organizations, byway advocacy groups, and the National Scenic Byways Program staff. Some topics may lend themselves to immediate adoption or application to individual byways or programs. Others may warrant further discussion at the local, regional, or national level.
- Adopt a flexible policy concerning an average number of byways-per-State. Engage State and Indian tribe coordinators in a discussion over this issue. Evaluate Program goals against State and Indian tribe objectives, international, regional and multi-State byways, and grassroots self-determination and interest in the Program.
- Establish clearer program direction and stronger guidance for multi-State and International byways. Several multi-State byways currently exist, and three byways offer corresponding "extensions" in Canada. Cross-State and cross-border issues will become increasingly prominent over time. How to fund, market, designate, and de- or re-designate routes will become increasingly important as these cooperative trends continue. As many of these cooperative byways have resulted from grassroots conversations, it is within the Program's own mandate to accommodate and respond to these needs.
- Increase marketing funding. The Program is ultimately only as strong as its constituency. While byway organizations are generally strong and dedicated, all research shows that national awareness for the America's Byways® collection remains low.
- Increase the amount of funding and attention given to intrinsic quality protection. Without their identified intrinsic qualities, America's Byways® will lose their appeal to travelers. Marketing, promotion, and facility development must be balanced with protection of the Land and People resources visitors are expecting to experience. Too many viewsheds, historic sites, cultural landscapes, and natural resources associated with designated byway routes have no protection from loss or development. Byways must weigh the potential impacts to their intrinsic qualities.
- Research methods to better support local byway advocacy organizations. While some byway organizations have developed sophisticated structures and professional management objectives, many still continue to operate on shoestring operations and overworked volunteers. The long term sustainability of the byways requires secure and stable management organizations for each of America's Byways®.
- Establish a focused NSBP outreach to Indian tribes based on SAFETEA-LU guidance allowing Indian tribes to apply directly to the Program. Indian tribe byways present a rich and untapped opportunity to showcase new Land and People resources—offering a dynamic addition to the collection. Tribal governments, resources, and political processes are often different from State programs and policies. The Program not only needs to facilitate the addition of Indian tribe byways, but also to be flexible with programs and policies to best meet the needs of interested Tribal groups, and respecting the sovereign status of Indian tribe governments.
- Set Program-level objectives for each funding cycle. After a review of grant funded projects, the Program should consider establishing objectives to meet under-funded or at-risk byway features, resources and opportunities. Program objectives may, for example, focus on professional byway management, conservation easements for at risk properties, or regional and international marketing strategies.