first_imgWINDSOR, Vt. Vermont and New Hampshire tourism officials today formally announced that the Connecticut River Byway, running from Brattleboro, Vermont to Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, has been named a National Scenic Byway by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Connecticut River Byway, which stretches from the Canadian border to Massachusetts, follows 500 miles of state highways in 53 communities along the Connecticut River Valley in Vermont and New Hampshire. The byway embraces traditional New England historic and cultural sites which tell the story of the nations first explorations into the wilderness, first transportation corridor, and the initial expansion of American culture.The awarding of national designation follows a long and competitive application process, according to Sharon Francis, executive director of the Connecticut River Joint Commissions (Web: www.crjc.org(link is external)), which oversees the Connecticut River Byway Council (Web: www.ctrivertravel.net/(link is external)). We know we have a river valley with outstanding scenery and impressive history, but it is sweet news to hear that we are among the winners in a national competition, Francis said.This is very exciting news and will be enormously important for both tourism and economic development in this region, said Vermont Governor Jim Douglas. In August, Governor Lynch and I toured cultural heritage sites along the byway on both sides of the Connecticut River and renewed our commitment that our two great states would work together to promote the entire Connecticut River Byway. The National Scenic Byway designation will give those efforts an enormous boost.Americas Byways (Web: www.byways.org(link is external)), of which the Connecticut River Byway is now a part, is a distinct collection of American roads and treasured places recognized for their scenic, historic, natural, recreational, cultural and archeological qualities. Congress created the National Scenic Byways Program in 1991 to meet widespread demand that the nations unique places should be preserved and shared while at the same time promoting tourism and economic development by bringing tourists to rural America and much-needed dollars to small communities. Since its inception, the Americas Byways has provided $206 million for 1,495 projects in 48 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Colombia. In New Hampshire, the program also recognizes the White Mountain Trail and Kancamagus Scenic Byway. The Connecticut River Byway is the first National Scenic Byway in Vermont.The Connecticut River Byway includes nine waypoint centers where visitors may learn about the river valleys history, culture, arts, and recreational opportunities, as well as local lodging, dining, and entertainment. The waypoint centers are in Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, St. Johnsbury, Windsor, and White River Junction, Vt., and Claremont, Lancaster, and Colebrook, N.H. Wells River, Vt. and Woodsville, N.H. share a waypoint center located in Woodsville. ###last_img read more