Byways 101

Part 2: Intrinsic Qualities & The Byway Story

Learning Objective #1: The Six Intrinsic Qualities

Explain each of the six intrinsic qualities: archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic.

What Is An Intrinsic Quality?

The National Scenic Byways Program defines intrinsic quality as “features that are considered representative, unique, irreplaceable, or distinctly characteristic of an area.”

Intrinsic qualities arise from a byway’s particular combination of resources that define its character, interest and appeal. These resources are the special views, places, buildings, sites and other features that residents enjoy and that provide the byway’s drawing power and interest for travelers. A resource can be natural, such as a gorge, mountain or lake; or it may be the result of human activity, such as a historic building, battle site, or well-designed parkway.

In response to the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) mandate to establish a National Scenic Byways Program, the Interim Policy (May 18, 1995, Federal Register Volume 60, Number 96) established criteria for designation of roads as National Scenic Byways or All-American Roads based upon their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and/or scenic intrinsic qualities. Continue with this Learning Objective to read each of these six official Interim Policy definitions as well as additional inventory and designation considerations for each intrinsic quality.

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