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U.S. Highway 25E Receives National Scenic Byway Designation



Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. Photo by Charlie Bay.

Cumberland Gap, Tennessee. Photo by Charlie Bay.

The stretch of U.S. 25E from Cumberland Gap to Newport, called "East Tennessee Crossing" by the local organizations who promote tourism, received designation as a National Scenic Byway on October 19, 2009.  U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the announcement at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Five counties in East Tennessee (Claiborne, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson and Cocke) have being working since 2003 to achieve the federal designation for the portion of U.S. 25E that runs through those counties.

Benefits of the designation include funding of $25,000 per year for five years; eligibility to apply for federal competitive grants; America's Byways® branding; national and international marketing through the federal program; and technical assistance from National Scenic Byways Program staff.

"My predecessor, Chuck Davis, had the vision to pursue National Scenic Byway designation for 25E, "said Maria Fisher, tourism director for the Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce.  "After Chuck passed away in 2006, the steering committee continued working on the project.  This is such a wonderful tribute to his memory since this designation will help increase visitation to our area and drive tourism development for years to come."

In applying for the national designation, the steering committee had to demonstrate that the byway has elements of regional and national significance.  Such assets include:  Cumberland Gap National Historic Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, Wilderness Road, Daniel Boone National Historic Trail, planned extension of the Lewis and Clark Trail, planned Daniel Boone National Historic Trail, Lincoln Museum, Appalachian Trail, Appalachian Quilt Trail, first TVA dam and lake, Warrior Path/Buffalo Trail, Davy Crockett history, Daniel Boone history, Dixie Highway, Civil War history, Thunder Road history, Appalachian culture, arts and history.

"Our region has such an interesting story to tell travelers," Fisher noted. "That's why it was so important for us to be accepted into the national program because it will give our five counties more resources and funding to promote this area to tourists."

The steering committee for the East Tennessee Crossing Byway will host a local ceremony to commemorate the designation later this fall.  Details on that event will be announced once plans are finalized.

Today's announcement of 42 new designations includes five All-American Roads and 37 National Scenic Byways in 26 states. This increases the number of America's Byways® to 151.  There was only one other designation in Tennessee, the Great River Road in West Tennessee.

"By enriching the National Scenic Byways program with their own unique historical or aesthetic quality, these new additions help our national road system tell our country's story," said Secretary LaHood.  "These routes continue to offer Americans exciting new opportunities to explore the nation - whether they travel close to home or across the country."

Created in 1991, the National Scenic Byways program is a collaborative effort to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States.  It has funded 2,672 projects for state and nationally designated byway routes in 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recognizes certain roads as All-American Roads or National Scenic Byways based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities.  With Massachusetts and New Jersey included in the 2009 designations, 46 states have America's Byways® in them.

For more information visit www.byways.org.




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