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KDOT Secretary Designates Smoky Valley Scenic Byway

August 14, 2003 Release 03-110

News Contact: Deborah Divine, (785) 827-3603

KDOT Secretary Designates Smoky Valley Scenic Byway

Secretary of Transportation Deb Miller has officially designated the Smoky Valley Scenic Byway as the sixth Kansas Scenic Byway. This route follows K-147/K-4 and US 283 in Trego and Ness Counties showcasing the Smoky Hill River Valley and the Cedar Bluff Reservoir.

This newest byway offers visitors an opportunity to experience the transition between the mixed grass prairie and the short grass prairie of the Plains. The area is steeped in the history of the westward movement of pioneers and gold seekers on the Smoky Hill Trail and those early settlers whose vision was to tame the grasslands as their own.

The local Smoky Valley Scenic Byway Committee, headed by Mary and Dave Hendricks of Thistle Hill Bed and Breakfast, plans to do wildflower plantings along the route in conjunction with roadway construction on US 283. They also would like to post crop identification signs so visitors will recognize the different crops grown along the byway.

The Kansas Scenic Byways Program is designed to designate routes of uniformly high scenic quality in the state for the viewing enjoyment of residents and visitors. The program, in its tenth year, is a grassroots-based endeavor administered under public-private partnership of the Kansas Department of Transportation and Bucher, Willis & Ratliff Corporation.

The program seeks to identify and designate scenic byways through a multi-step process. The first step of the process is completion of an application with map by the local nominating group. The second step, recently completed by the three nominees, is mile-by-mile evaluation of the scenic quality of the routes. The Kansas Scenic Byways Committee reviews the evaluations prior to giving the go-ahead for the third step in the process. The third step conducted by the local nominating group is completion of a corridor management plan that provides a written summary of the activities the local group plans to carry out to preserve, enhance and promote the route once it receives scenic byway designation.

Once a route becomes a Kansas scenic byway, the route is noted as such on the state transportation map, signs are erected, byway brochures are developed, and the byway is included in the state promotional activity. In addition, the designated byway becomes eligible to apply for grants from the National Scenic Byway Program administered by the Federal Highway Administration via the Kansas Department of Transportation.

Fred Markham, Landscape Architect and Acting State Scenic Byway Coordinator at the Kansas Department of Transportation, notes "this designation demonstrates the scenic beauty throughout our state." For further information, contact Deb Divine at 1-800-684-6966 or go to the website, ksbyways.org.