Please Note: Because the National Scenic Byways Program is no longer funded, FHWA is no longer soliciting grant applications. Without funding for the Program, FHWA will not be moving forward with another round of designations of America's Byways® at this time.
In this section, you will be asked to provide essential information regarding the byway, including:
Designation sought. In nominating your byway, you must decide whether to apply for designation as a National Scenic Byway or All-American Road. The selection of the designation sought is an important decision that impacts the information you will be requested to supply throughout your nomination application.
National Scenic Byway. To be designated as a National Scenic Byway, a road should have at least one of the six (6) scenic byway intrinsic qualities discussed below that is regionally significant. For your nomination submission, you will be asked to select one primary Intrinsic Quality that is most evident along the road that you will demonstrate is regionally significant. This quality is the one you must use to authenticate your claims throughout the application. While more than one, and maybe all six, of the Intrinsic Qualities may be found on the byway, applicants are asked to focus on a primary Intrinsic Quality for purposes of nomination.
All-American Road. To be designated as an All-American Road, the road or highway should meet the criteria for at least two of the Intrinsic Qualities that are nationally significant. The road or highway should also be considered a destination unto itself. To be recognized as such, it should provide an exceptional traveling experience that is so recognized by travelers that they would make a drive along the highway the primary reason for their trip. The characteristics associated with the Intrinsic Qualities are those which best represent the nation and which may contain one-of-a-kind features that do not exist elsewhere. The significance of the features contributing to the distinctive characteristics of the corridor's intrinsic quality is recognized nationally. For your nomination submission, you will select two (2) Intrinsic Qualities that are most evident along the road and that you will demonstrate are nationally significant and contribute to the byway being considered a destination unto itself. These two (2) Intrinsic Qualities are the ones you should use to authenticate your claims throughout the application.
A list of America's Byways® with the Intrinsic Qualities for which they were designated can be found online at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/scenic_byways/nominations/docs.cfm.
Multi-Jurisdiction Nomination. If your byway traverses more than one jurisdiction (i.e., State, Indian tribe, or Federal land), you will be asked to indicate that you are submitting a nomination submission for a multi-jurisdiction nomination and applicants in each jurisdiction will be required to submit individual nomination applications. For consideration as a National Scenic Byway, applicants will be required to identify the primary intrinsic quality that can be found in all of the jurisdictions through which the byway runs and be consistent in the submission of the individual applications. For consideration as an All-American Road, applicants will be asked to identify a primary intrinsic quality that can be found in all of the jurisdictions through which the byway runs as well as identify an intrinsic quality that may be unique to their segment of the byway. In submitting an application for a byway that runs through more than one jurisdiction, the applicants will be asked to identify the other entities (e.g., State, Indian tribe, Federal land management agency) that are also seeking nomination. Applicants for multi-jurisdiction applications will also be asked to coordinate their responses for Section 2 of the application: Statement of Qualification.
Nomination of an Extension. If you are seeking an extension to an existing National Scenic Byway or All-American Road, you will be asked to indicate that you are submitting a nomination for an extension, and will be required to submit the nomination application for the proposed extension in context of the existing National Scenic Byway or All-American Road. For consideration of the extension as a National Scenic Byway, applicants will be required to identify the same primary intrinsic quality that can be found along the designated portion of the byway, and how the proposed extension relates to and enhances the designated National Scenic Byway. For consideration of the extension as an All-American Road, applicants will be asked to identify the same two intrinsic qualities that can be found on the designated portion of the byway, and how the proposed extension relates to and enhances the designated All-American Road. All other questions should be answered with the primary focus being on the proposed extension. For example, traveler experience should focus on the traveler experience on the extension; features, including points of interest,sites and events, should include the extension.
Byway name. Does your byway name capture the imagination? Is your name distinctive and meaningful to a national audience? When selecting the official name, byway leaders should recognize the importance of linking the name to the principal resources and attributes of the route's location. Consider the importance to travelers of clear name recognition associated with the region.
Location. You will be asked to provide a brief description about where your byway is located.
Date of designation as a State, Indian tribe or Federal land management agency byway. Any road submitted for designation under the National Scenic Byways Program must first be designated a State, Indian tribe or Federal land management agency scenic byway. This means that the road has been designated through legislation or some other official declaration for its scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, archeological, or natural qualities. An official declaration is an action taken by an individual, board, committee or political subdivision acting with granted authority on behalf of the State, Indian tribe or Federal land management agency.
Intrinsic Quality(s). The six intrinsic qualities are scenic, natural, historic, cultural, archeological and recreational. For purposes of the National Scenic Byways Program, they are defined as follows:
Scenic Quality is the heightened visual experience derived from the view of natural and manmade elements of the visual environment of the scenic byway corridor. The characteristics of the landscape are strikingly distinct and offer a pleasing and most memorable visual experience. All elements of the landscape—landform, water, vegetation, and manmade development—contribute to the quality of the corridor’s visual environment. Everything present is in harmony and shares in the intrinsic qualities.
Natural Quality applies to those features in the visual environment that are in a relatively undisturbed state. These features predate the arrival of human populations and may include geological formations, fossils, landform, water bodies, vegetation, and wildlife. There may be evidence of human activity, but the natural features reveal minimal disturbances.
Historic Quality encompasses legacies of the past that are distinctly associated with physical elements of the landscape, whether natural or manmade, that are of such historic significance that they educate the viewer and stir an appreciation for the past. The historic elements reflect the actions of people and may include buildings, settlement patterns, and other examples of human activity. Historic features can be inventoried, mapped, and interpreted. They possess integrity of location, design, setting, material, workmanship, feeling, and association.
Cultural Quality is evidence and expressions of the customs or traditions of a distinct group of people. Cultural features including, but not limited to, crafts, music, dance, rituals, festivals, speech, food, special events, vernacular architecture, etc., are currently practiced. The cultural qualities of the corridor could highlight one or more significant communities and/or ethnic traditions.
Archeological Quality involves those characteristics of the scenic byways corridor that are physical evidence of historic or prehistoric human life or activity that are visible and capable of being inventoried and interpreted. The scenic byway corridor’s archeological interest, as identified through ruins, artifacts, structural remains, and other physical evidence have scientific significance that educate the viewer and stir an appreciation for the past.
Recreational Quality involves outdoor recreational activities directly association with and dependent upon the natural and cultural elements of the corridor’s landscape. The recreational activities provide opportunities for active and passive recreational experiences. They include, but are not limited to, downhill skiing, rafting, boating, fishing, and hiking. Driving the road itself may qualify as a pleasurable recreational experience. The recreational activities may be seasonal, but the quality and importance of the recreational activities as seasonal operations must be well recognized.
Primary photo. You will be asked to provide a single image that you feel best represents the experience along your byway. A photograph can provide both an instant first impression and a lasting mental image of your byway. Please select this image carefully as it will introduce the reviewers to your byway.
Also, if designated, your byway will be included in the marketing efforts of the National Scenic Byways Program and this image will be used on the traveler website.
Directions will be included in the online application on how to import photos into the application. In addition, you will be asked to provide an alternative text description of each photo that describes what the photo depicts. This text will be used by those who cannot see the photo, and should thoroughly describe what is depicted in the photo. This text description should be more than just a simple photo caption, but should provide sufficient detail for someone to understand what the photo depicts. For guidelines on submitting images and composing alternative text descriptions, please see our Image Style Guide at: https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/scenic_byways/nominations/image_style_guide.cfm.