Federal Highway Administrator, Victor Mendez, announced October 16th, that they have designated the 180-mile long thoroughfare running through the Journey Through Hallowed Ground — US 15, VA231, VA20 and VA53 (the Old Carolina Road) – from Gettysburg, PA to Monticello, VA, a National Scenic Byway. This is one of the highest designations the Secretary can bestow upon a public road and one that could have a profound economic impact on the local jurisdictions along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground.
Upon learning of the news, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership announced that it will host a Whistle Stop Tour on October 21, 2009, where the JTHG Partnership will celebrate the achievement and the potential economic benefits of the designation with elected officials, state tourism officers from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, and the citizens who live within the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, many of whom worked diligently to help obtain this honor.
“This designation represents years of dedication to sustaining the unique cultural, historic and national resources demonstrated by each community along this magnificent corridor, and we are thrilled that our partners have received this due recognition,” said Cate Magennis Wyatt, president of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership. “It’s only appropriate that this road and the generations of people who have lived, prospered and sacrificed in this region are acknowledged with this highly esteemed and internationally recognized designation.”
The day-long Whistle Stop Tour will follow the entire Journey route, stopping at key spots that offer Whistle-Stop riders a chance to see the diversity of the
environmental, cultural and historical sites along the much-heralded national heritage area. The JTHG Partnership’s Whistle Stop Tour will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Historic Train Station in Gettysburg, PA then head south to Catoctin Mountain Orchard in Thurmont Maryland, then to General George Marshall’s Home Dodona Manor in Leesburg, VA, then to the Museum of Culpeper History in Culpeper, VA, then to James Madison’s Montpelier in Orange, VA, and winding up at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. There will be tweets and updates along the way.
Nationwide, only a select group of roads have been designated National Scenic Byways. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground marks the 99th to date and now will reap the benefits of exclusive worldwide marketing efforts as an American Byway and elevated status when seeking federal funds.
“The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership can be proud of their nearly two-year effort, working with dozens of communities and local citizens, to win federal designation of the historic thoroughfares between Gettysburg and Monticello as a National Scenic Byway,” said Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia’s 11th District. “Besides benefiting the region through increased tourism and prestige, this scenic byway will stand as a permanent memorial to the rich culture, heritage and history spanning many generations that can be found along the 180-mile by-way.” The mission of the National Scenic Byways Program is: “to provide resources to the byway community in creating a unique travel experience and enhanced local quality of life through efforts to preserve, protect, interpret, and promote the intrinsic qualities of designated byways.”
The added value of the federal marketing program should translate into increased awareness from visitors around the country and across the globe,” explained Virginia Tourism Corporation President and CEO Alisa Bailey. “Every local heritage site, national park, winery, and Main Street community stands to benefit from this new national designation.”