DATE: Tuesday, January 11, 2000

CONTACT PERSON: Jim Fisher, Planner


Two New Scenic Byways Designated In Hancock County

After four years of hard work, residents of five towns in Hancock County received state designation for Scenic Byways. The State Scenic Byways Board met on Monday, January 11 with representatives of the Sullivan-Schoodic Corridor Advocacy Group, the Acadia Byway Corridor Planning Group and the Hancock County Planning Commission and voted to accept both corridors as State Scenic Byways.

The Sullivan-Schoodic Byway begins on Route 1 at the Hancock-Sullivan Bridge and crosses Sullivan to Gouldsboro, turning down Route 186 to Winter Harbor, then through the Acadia National Park Schoodic Loop Road and ending in the Village of Prospect Harbor. The byway features historic villages, homes, harbors and a working-landscape of farming, lobstering, clamming and worming. The scenery and natural resources are equally stunning with open vistas of the many bays, tidal estuaries and breaking waves.

The Acadia Scenic Byway includes the nationally recognized Route 3 Corridor leading from the head of Mount Desert Island in Trenton through most of Bar Harbor and engaging the Acadia Park Loop Road, which visits many coastal and interior portions of the Island. The byway includes a wealth of historic, scenic and recreational opportunities and will be a force for their preservation.

These two corridors will now be nominated to the Federal Department of Transportation for National Scenic Byway designation. State and Federal designation are key steps to assure that the participating towns have greater say in the future of their roadways. With State designation the corridor management plans will be required reading for MDOT planners and engineers. The plans define local goals and objectives, such as preservation of the small-town atmosphere, safer access for bicycles, support for the Island Explorer bus system, traffic calming in residential areas and signage about local historic and natural resources. The plans also outline a process for forming partnerships between citizens, elected leaders, local businesses, corridor committees and the Maine Department of Transportation. Federal and State support will be available in for improvements, education and preservation..

Designation at the state level is an important step, but residents of the participating towns must also play a role. The corridor management plans must be presented to each of the towns in public hearings over the coming months and these documents must be adopted at town meetings as recognized planning documents. Without public support the plans cannot be implemented. If adopted by the towns, Federal and State grants are not automatic. They will only go to towns that demonstrate the importance of specific projects in grant applications. One State Byway in Maine recently received $200,000 in support. The rewards can be substantial, but only with local leadership and effort.

Please contact Jim Fisher at the Hancock County Planning Commission, at 667-7131 or if you have further questions. You can also visit Town Offices in Trenton, Bar Harbor, Sullivan, Gouldsboro or Winter Harbor if you wish to see the Corridor Management Plans, or read them in the transportation section of the HCPC web site at