The final vote was taken Monday night in the annual Sullivan Town meeting to adopt the Route 1 / Route 186 Corridor Management Plan. Following the positive votes in Winter Harbor and Gouldsboro the week before, Sullivan voters joined in adopting the plan. These three town votes were the final step in accepting Federal designation of the Route 1 and Route 186 corridor as a Schoodic National Scenic Byway.
The Schoodic Scenic Byway begins on Route 1 where the Hancock-Sullivan Bridge crosses Taunton Bay and continues through Sullivan to Route 186 in Gouldsboro. The byway follows Route 186 through Winter Harbor to the Schoodic Loop Road. After traveling the loop through Acadia National Park, the byway rejoins Route 186 in Birch Harbor and heads east, ending in Prospect Harbor. In this approximately 30 mile corridor, visitors will see numerous views of the downeast Maine coastline, historic homes, local culture, the downeast working landscape, recreational sites and a memorable piece of Acadia National Park.
Barbara Shanahan, Schoodic Corridor Management Committee Chair, traveled to Washington, DC on June 15 to receive the award and meet with U.S. Department of Transportation executives, U.S. Senators and award recipients from around the country. "We are very excited about being appointed a National Scenic Byway. Many applicants were turned down, but our grass-roots effort made a difference." Stated Shanahan.
"The Schoodic Scenic Byway is an introduction to the real downeast Maine. Residents and visitors are going to benefit in many ways." stated Shanahan. Perhaps the biggest benefit for the residents of the three Towns on the byway is an agreement signed by various departments of Maine State Government, including the Department of Transportation and the Office of Tourism, that local planning will be encouraged and respected. "The Towns working with the Corridor Management Committee will have more control over their destiny, including tourism, economic growth and the type of development that happens." stated Barbara Shanahan.
One important objective of the Corridor Management Plan is to increase safety for drivers, walkers and bicyclists. Peter Drinkwater, Secretary for the Corridor Management Committee states "We'd like to have safe roads for the bicyclists. This designation will help us secure Federal funds to accomplish this." Planning is being proposed to identify ways to accommodate walkers and bicyclists who want to see the byway. Safety for non-motorists will also mean convenience for drivers who can avoid unsafe passing maneuvers when they are caught behind.
Visitors will also benefit in the future. The Corridor Management Plan calls for upgrading existing turn-outs so that drivers will be able to pull-off without risking life and limb. The plan also develops additional public rest areas, with bathrooms or outhouses that are accessible to people with disabilities and interpretive plaques that educate the visitor about the local environment and history.
"We want people to participate in the future. It's up to us to make this happen" stated Barbara Shanahan. As the Schoodic Scenic Byway moves into implementation stage, the Corridor Management Committee, made up of residents from all three tows, will work for the Town Select Boards and Planning Boards to protect local autonomy, increase funding for road safety improvements and leverage the byway for local economic development. "This is local control. Contact any of us if you would like to be on the advisory board. The more the merrier." stated Peter Drinkwater
You can find additional information on the web site of the Hancock County Planning Commission at www.acadia.net/hcpc in the transportation section or contact Jim Fisher, at 667-7131. Information on the National Scenic Byways program, a press release on the June 15 award ceremony and numerous pictures of the Schoodic Byway can be found at www.byways.org.