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Maryland Scenic Byways Program

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Maryland belongs to a longstanding network of national and state byways that include the most distinct and diverse roads of our nation.  These corridors embody archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities that are worthy of preservation and promotion. 
Snow HillMaryland’s Scenic Byway program enhances community pride, as well as visitor appeal, by encouraging the responsible management and preservation of the State’s most scenic, cultural and historic roads.
Over the past 25 years, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (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 develop the program into a system of byways that create distinctive travel destinations throughout the state.
Today the program determines how best to sustain the qualities that make these routes worthy of the experience – by all modes of travel. Today’s byways showcase communities' history and culture, conserve their setting, and provide economic development based on that history by offering opportunities for people to stay and linger and learn about our culture.


Resource Protection tool for Maryland Scenic Byways

You can use a GIS-based tool for 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 can use the tool to set conservation priorities in a targeted and strategic manner. This tool helps protect resources and maintain the quality of byway travel.


CSS Guidelines for Maryland Scenic Byways

York at Gunpowder

MDOT SHA offers 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 consider the intrinsic qualities of the individual byways, which will improve the visitor experience.


Corridor Management Plans

MDOT SHA's Scenic Byway program partners with local communities on Corridor Management Plans (CMPs) that protect and enhance the byways. CMPs are flexible documents that change with the community and address issues such as tourism, historic preservation, environmental protection, roadway safety and economic development. Completed CMPs include:

  • Charles Street is 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 tells the story of urban innovation in city planning, architecture, education, and philanthropy. To see the plan, go to: Charles Street Corridor Management Plan.   
  • Blue Crab Scenic Byway: The Lower Eastern Shore Heritage Committee (LESHC) has been working closely with MDOT SHA to develop a CMP for the Blue Crab Scenic Byway (PDF, 20.2 MB). This new plan creates 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.
  • Historic National Road: The Maryland National Road Association (MNRA), a collaboration of state agencies, local governments, and communities completed a CMP that 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 simple design principles to encourage new development projects that enhance 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 MDOT SHA. The Alliance 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 guides development of interpretive products along the Byway. This document provides a filter for decision-making, 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. The CMP helps the four counties and their agency partners protect the rich natural and cultural resources so that visitors enjoy the region's rich maritime history, agricultural legacy and natural resources. 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 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).
  • Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad: Preservationists, historians, tourism and planning officials from Dorchester County, Caroline County, Maryland Office of Tourism Development, and MDOT SHA partnered on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Corridor Management Plan (PDF, 22.9 MB).
  • Religious Freedom Byway: 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 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 560 miles of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail. The trail's long-term management and development will be guided by this plan over the next 15-20 years. The trail supported the commemoration, interpretation and promotion of sites around the Chesapeake Bay during the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 and provided a legacy for these activities through ongoing public-private cooperative management to extend interpretation, resource preservation, and recreation related to the War of 1812 in the Chesapeake.


For more information about Maryland Scenic Byways Program, 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