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Maryland Scenic Byways Program

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Maryland is honored to be part of a longstanding program and a network of National and State Byways that represent many of the most distinct and diverse roads of our nation.  These corridors embody archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and/or scenic qualities that community sponsors and government agencies, working in partnership, deem worthy of preserving and promoting. 
Snow HillMaryland’s Scenic Byway program helps the communities enhance the quality of life and pride as well as visitor appeal by identifying and promoting as well as encouraging the responsible management and preservation of the state’s most scenic, cultural and historic roads and surrounding resources.
Over the past twenty-five years, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration’s (MDOT SHA) Scenic Byways Program has worked collaboratively with its sister agencies and programs along with support from the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byway Program to establish and develop the program into a system of byways that are linked together to create distinctive travel destinations throughout the state.
Today the program is looking forward to determine how best to sustain the qualities that make these routes worthy of the experience – by all modes of travel. Today’s byways provide an opportunity for communities to showcase their history and culture, to preserve and conserve their setting, and to provide opportunities for economic development based on that history or culture by offering opportunities for people to stay and linger and learn about our history and culture.


Resource Protection tool for Maryland Scenic Byways

MDOT SHA partnered with the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) to develop a Scenic Byways Resource Protection Application. It is a GIS based inventory mapping tool. It allows users to analyze protected, vulnerable and threatened resources along Maryland’s Scenic Byways. Local and State agencies use the tool to define priorities for conservation action in a targeted and strategic manner. This tool assists with the protection of resources and therefore maintains the quality of the byway travel experience.


CSS Guidelines for Maryland Scenic Byways

York at Gunpowder

MDOT SHA has developed guidelines for work on byways titled, Context-Sensitive Solutions (CSS) principles for Maryland Scenic Byways (PDF, 562 kb) and CSS Guidelines for the Historic National Road (PDF, 2.88 MB). Future road improvements along the byways will give consideration to the intrinsic qualities of the byway, which will improve the visitor experience.


Corridor Management Plans

MDOT SHA's Scenic Byway program has partnered with local communities to develop Corridor Management Plans (CMPs) to outline ways to protect and enhance the byways. CMPs are flexible documents designed to change with the community and typically address issues as tourism, historic preservation, environmental protection, roadway safety and economic development. Completed CMPs include:

  • Charles Street is considered Baltimore's premier street-the address for some of its finest stores, restaurants, offices, institutions, and homes. Charles Street is practically an outdoor museum that virtually tells the story of urban innovation in City Planning, Architecture, Education, and Philanthropy. To see the plan, click the following link: Charles Street Corridor Management Plan.   
  • The Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Committee (LESHC) has been working closely with SHA in an effort to develop a CMP for the Blue Crab Scenic Byway (PDF, 20.2 MB). This new byway plan will create a 150 mile loop through the lower three counties with three offshoots taking visitors to Crisfield/Smith Island, Ocean City and Assateague Island National Seashore.
  • The Maryland National Road Association (MNRA), a collaboration of state agencies, local governments, and the communities have completed a CMP, nominated and received an 'All American Road' designation for the Historic National Road (HNR). A Corridor Partnership Plan Update (PDF, 9.2 MB), and Model Community Design Guidelines(PDF, 13.6 MB), are now available. The Model Guidelines provide communities with a set of simple design guidelines, or principles, to use in encouraging new development projects which enhance the appearance of the Byway. These materials were developed by the Maryland National Road Association in partnership with state and local governments.
  • The Chesapeake Country (Upper Shore) Corridor Management Plan is a partnership between Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's Counties and SHA. The Alliance has nominated and received National Scenic Byway status for one of the state's most diverse and beautiful driving routes through the Delmarva Peninsula. Chesapeake Country (upper-Shore) Interpretive Plan is a tool to guide development of interpretive products and programs along the Byway. This document provides a filter for decision-making about the Byway, including design, funding and implementation priorities.
  • The Chesapeake Country (Mid-Shore) Corridor Management Plan (PDF, 6.45 MB.) is a partnership between Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester counties to develop a CMP for the Mid-Shore section of the Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway network. The purpose of the CMP is to help the four counties and their agency partners protect and promote the rich natural and cultural resources so that visitors learn about and enjoy the rich maritime history, agricultural legacy and natural resources of the region. From birding to bicycling, to boating – Michener’s Chesapeake Country Scenic Byway is the best way to explore it all in the Mid-Shore. Chesapeake Country (Mid-Shore) Interpretive Plan is a tool to guide development of interpretive products and programs along the mid-section of this Byway. This document provides a filter for decision-making about the Byway, including design, funding and implementation priorities.
  • The Catoctin Mountain National Scenic Byway: The Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway is a National Scenic Byway. It was designated as such in September 2005. Frederick County’s Board of Commissioners adopted the Catoctin Mountain Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan in May 2004 after two years of work with a citizens advisory committee. The Catoctin Mountain National Scenic Byway is part of the multi-state Journey through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway (PDF, 12.8 MB).
  • Preservationists, historians, tourism and planning officials, from Dorchester County, Caroline County, MD Office of Tourism Development, and the MD State Highway Administration have partnered do develop the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Corridor Management Plan (PDF, 22.9 MB).
  • St. Mary’s and Charles Counties and the Southern Maryland Heritage Area, Inc. have teamed up with landscape architects, planners, engineers, and historians to develop the Religious Freedom Byway Corridor Management Plan (PDF, 22.78 MB.) The Religious Freedom Byway presents the story of America’s First Right and the quest for religious tolerance in Colonial America.
  • The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail CMP  proposes management actions for approximately 560 miles of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. The Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail's long-term management and development will be guided by this plan over the next 15-20 years. The Trail was envisioned to support the commemoration, interpretation and promotion of sites around the Chesapeake Bay during the Bicentennial of the War of 1812, from 2012-2015, and to provide a legacy for these activities through ongoing public-private cooperative management to extend interpretation, resource preservation, and recreation opportunities related to the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake.


For more information about Maryland Scenic Byways Program, please contact:
Eric Beckett
Maryland Scenic Byways Program
Regional and Intermodal Planning Division
MDOT State Highway Administration
707 N Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(p) 410.545.5666
(e) ebeckett@sha.state.md.us