Local economy benefits from PBSB
In 2011 the National Scenic Byways Program celebrated twenty years of providing a dedicated grant program, training and technical support, and an elite and marketable roadway designation program for America. Over those years byways have connected communities, organizations and agencies in new and positive ways, working to preserve, enhance and promote our important scenic, historic, cultural, natural, recreational and archeological resource treasures into the future.
Perhaps of most interest to budget makers in all levels of government these days is the impact of the byway program to the economic vitality and sustainability of our communities, regions and the nation.
So this summer, long-time byway supporter, Derrick Crandall of the American Recreation Coalition (ARC), collaborated with the National Scenic Byways Foundation (NSBF) to inform some members of Congress and remind others, as well as other stakeholders, about the importance of the byway program. ARC is working on national organizational support, while the NSBF is reaching out to our grassroots byways. Over the summer, Future of America’s Byways Project collected stories and studies of individual byway successes, particularly those identifying positive economic impacts.
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway’s economic impact study was included in this collection. Research for the two year study was completed in 2010 by the University of Minnesota’s Tourism Center and the University of Minnesota’s Center for Community Vitality. The study was supported by the Explore Minnesota Tourism, the Carlson Chair for Travel and Tourism, and the University of Minnesota’s Central Region Partnership. The study results showed that the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway provided more than $21 million annually in direct and indirect economic impacts right here in the local area.
NSBF and ARC are now compiling key information such as the results of the PBSBA’s study, including also specific information about local champions, byways grants received, media outlets serving the byway’s market and more. This information will be used to support reauthorization of the byways program as the rewrite of the National Surface Transportation Program moves forward.
To learn more about the national scenic byways program, visit www.byways.org.