Byways 101

Part 1: Program Overview

USDA Forest Service – National Forest Scenic Byways Program

The USDA Forest Service established the National Forest Scenic Byways Program in May 1988. The program’s purpose is to showcase driving routes located on National Forest lands that provide access to outstanding scenic corridors and important natural, recreational and historic features.

The Chief of the Forest Service can designate routes traversing National Forest System lands as National Forest Scenic Byways. The first ten National Forest Scenic Byways were designated in 1989. In just 20 years, the system has grown to include 144 National Forest Scenic Byways designated by the Chief, encompassing over 9,000 miles of highways and roads on National Forest system lands.

The goals of the National Forest Scenic Byways Program are to:

  • Support and enhance rural community economic development.
  • Showcase outstanding National Forest and Grassland scenery.
  • Increase public understanding of National Forests as a major provider of outdoor recreation.
  • Increase public awareness and understanding of National Forest activities and the importance of sustaining healthy, productive ecosystems.
  • Ensure that people remain socially connected to public lands so they become better stewards of our natural resources.
  • Meet the growing demand of driving for pleasure as a significant recreation use.
  • Increase use of National Forests by nontraditional users, including minorities and the elderly.
  • Contribute to the nation’s overall scenic byways effort.

< Previous | Next >