Two familiar northern Wisconsin highways received federal designation this week as a National Scenic Byway, in recognition of the high quality natural, cultural, historical and recreational features along each route. And a third has been upgraded to “All American” status.
The now Wisconsin Lake Superior Scenic Byway (WLSSB) follows 70 miles of Wisconsin State Highway 13 along the southern shore of Lake Superior, outlining the shoreline of the popular and scenic Bayfield peninsula. And the Door County Coastal Byway (DCCB) stretches over 66 miles of Wisconsin highways 42 and 57 in the beautiful Door Peninsula.
The recognition comes as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) announcement of 49 new designations this week, including 15 All-American Roads and 34 National Scenic Byways. With the new additions of the WLSSB and DCCB, Wisconsin now has three nationally designated byways, including the Nicolet Wolf River Byway. The Great River Road on the western edge of the state, which was previously designated as a National Scenic Byway, is now elevated to an All-American Road.
“Through their many unique qualities, each of these new additions to the National Scenic Byways program helps America’s roads tell our national story,” said FHWA Executive Director Tom Everett. “These special routes offer travelers exciting new opportunities to explore the nation, from coast to coast or close to home.”
Created in 1991, the program is a collaborative effort to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) recognizes certain roads based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities.
“Scenic roads have always been popular with travelers, and support a wide array of area businesses too,” Everett added. “Whether hotels, eateries or gas stations, Scenic Byways and All-American Roads support the nation’s small business community and are economic drivers for entire regions.”
The “Reviving America’s Scenic Byways Act of 2019,” enacted in 2019, required the U.S. Transportation Secretary to solicit nominations for designation of All-American Roads and National Scenic Byways, resulting in 63 nominations. Each application was reviewed by subject-matter experts on historic preservation, design, cultural resources, and visual impacts, tourism and economic development, highway safety, federal lands, and Native American history and culture. The U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Commerce also provided input.
Additional information about the America’s Byways® collection can be found at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/.
Caption (Featured Photo)–The curves of Highway 42 in Door County are famously captured by photographers near and far. This scene is now part of the Door County Coastal Byway.