The National Scenic Byways Program's grant requirements define eight categories of eligible project activities:
When byway groups prepare grant applications, they make a choice as to what eligible category to pursue. That is not a decision made by Program staff. Thus, the data available for this section strongly reflects the choices made by local groups when they completed their grant applications.
As noted below, the highest number (40%) of National Scenic Byway Program grants are for corridor management plan development or implementation. Based on the local byway group's choice of what category to pursue, some grant requests for the other seven eligibility categories may at times be requested under the broad category of corridor management plan development or implementation, rather than being individually identified by one of the more specific categories.
Therefore, as an example, it is likely that some projects for resource protection or interpretation have been requested under the corridor management planning category when the local byway group felt that the project was a strong component of their corridor plan implementation. Additionally, as many projects may have overlap or multi-purposes (for example, an interpretive kiosk as a part of a safety pullout which is also a trailhead improvement), byway groups may elect to use the broader corridor management planning category to capture the multiplicity of project goals—in this example safety improvements, interpretation information and access to recreation.
Therefore, it is important to note that the funding data collected by the Program is best used to understand general trends in project grant funding. For example, significantly fewer grants are requested for safety improvements and resource protection, than information and interpretation and byway facilities. It is unlikely an abundance of safety or resource protection projects are "hiding" under the corridor management planning category.
What is important is ensuring that all eligible projects are being funded, and that byways are implementing corridor goals and work plans. What this analysis may suggest are eligible funding categories that are being under-utilized based on resource needs. Are byways with intensive marketing and interpretation programs adequately protecting the resources being showcased? Are successfully marketed byways providing necessary safety enhancements for their visitors? The data collected to date provide meaningful insight into these general trends.