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The picturesque corridor known as the Delaware Bayshore Byways
provides no shortage of scenic vistas, including Kent Countys Bombay
Hook National Wildlife Refuge.
is the perfect season for road trips and sightseeing, but did you know
that there are more than 100 scenic stops along the Delaware byways
From the rich history found on the Harriet Tubman
Underground Railroad Byway to the culturally significant sites making up
the Nanticoke Heritage Byway, all six of the First States byways offer
a rich roadmap of scenic spots.
Now, thanks to a collaboration between
the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) and the University of
Delawares Institute for Public Administration (IPA), planning a
summertime excursion through Delaware is as simple as a click.
Created to identify, promote, preserve and enhance Delawares
designated byways, DelDOTs Delaware Byways Program is one many
Delawareans may not be aware of. According to DelDOT, a byway can be
defined as a transportation route which is adjacent to or travels
through an area with particular intrinsic scenic, historic, natural,
cultural, recreational or archaeological qualities.
Michael Hahn, who graduated with his masters degree in 1997 and
is DelDOTs Byways Program coordinator, said his task is to oversee all
six of the states byways.
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The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway provides an alternate route through Maryland and Delaware while showcasing the history of the Underground Railroad
through such landmarks as Wilmingtons Unwavering Courage in the Pursuit
of Freedom monument commemorating Harriet Tubman and Thomas Garrett.
As part of my role, Im always looking to bring attention to
Delawares six scenic byways and the unique experiences they each
offer, said Hahn.
Already aware of their Complete Communities Toolbox
and story map offerings, I was able to connect with IPAs Marcia Scott
and Nicole Minni to help bring the byways to life for Delawareans
through GIS (geographical information system) technology.
Minni is an associate policy scientist and GIS specialist at IPA, and Scott is a policy scientist at IPA.
The goal of the project was to not only create a visual experience,
but also to encourage Delawareans to go off the beaten path to explore
scenic views and must see-stops along the way, said Minni.
into GIS technology, Minni was able to replicate the routes of each
byway and present them in an accurate and interactive virtual map
collection. From there, the project team worked to highlight points of
interest along each corridor.
After receiving input from state planners, local advocacy organizations, the University of Delawares Center for Historic Architecture and Design
and Delaware Byways Program leaders, our team developed a spreadsheet
with points of interest along the byways, which included a list of
historic sites, their locations and descriptions, Scott said.
Interested in exploring the Delaware Byways? Navigating scenic
views and must-see stops along Delaware roadways has never been easier
thanks to the Scenic Tour of Delaware Byways Showcase.
After three years of work, DelDOTs Scenic Tour of the Delaware Byways Showcase
was released this year to the public. The collection includes detailed
maps of the Brandywine Valley National Scenic Byway, the Red Clay Scenic
Byway, Delawares Bayshore Byway, the Harriet Tubman Underground
Railroad Byway, the Nanticoke Heritage Byway, and the Historic Lewes
Byway, Gateway to the Bayshore.
Rather than reading an entire booklet or handing out some kind
of manual, this collection of online interactive maps has proven to be
an excellent way for us to share the story of the byways with the public
and increase our outreach, said Hahn. Additionally, Hahn added that
the virtual byways maps can be used by the states tourism and regional
chamber of commerce partners to help promote Delawares heritage-,
cultural-, eco- and recreation-tourism industries and boost economic
vitality of Delawares small towns.
Those interested in touring the byways this summer can also play a
part in the positive impact of the program by taking advantage of the
Byway Bucks Program, which incentivizes travelers to patronize local
businesses along each byway. These vouchers are redeemable at a variety
of byway adjacent small businesses for a variety of special offers
across the state. For more information on how to get started, the Institute for Public Administrations #ShopSmall Along the Delaware Byways video found on the Delaware Byways Programs home page provides an overview of how to use byway bucks.
A "complete" community promotes healthy lifestyles, economic growth,
and sustainability through an integrated approach to transportation,
land use, and community design. The Institute for Public
Administration's online Delaware Complete Communities Planning Toolbox is
a resource for community leaders and local government officials to
utilize planning approaches, community-design tools, public engagement
strategies, and visual tools. The full collection of IPA's GIS Story
Maps may be viewed on the Implementing Complete Communities in Delaware ESRI GIS Story Map Gallery.
The University of Delawares Institute for Public Administration (IPA)
addresses the policy, planning, and management needs of its partners
through the integration of applied research, professional development
and the education of tomorrow's leaders.
Article by Chris Kelley; photos courtesy of Delaware Byways Program and Laura Pontiggia
Published July 26, 2019