Alliance Takes Another Step Towards Achieving a National Scenic Byway Designation
The Alliance for the Cumberlands has announced their receipt of funding from the Federal Highway Administration to complete a Corridor Management Plan for the proposed National Scenic Byway that starts in Celina and connects with the East Tennessee Crossing National Scenic Byway at Cumberland Gap. “National Scenic Byways are a proven way to stimulate local economic growth in the Cumberland Plateau region,” explained Zebulon Turrentine, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Cumberlands, a nonprofit coalition of private and public orgnaizations whose mission is to protect and conserve the unique and inherent natural, historic and cultural resources of the 21-county Cumberland Plateau region.
With an economic impact averaging $36,500 per mile, National Scenic Byways Designations are great ways to attract more attention to remote rural areas such as the Cumberland Plateau. But the proposed route is not yet a National Scenic Byway. “Before we can propose a National Scenic Byway Designation,” said Turrentine, “We have to complete a corridor management plan for the route.”
What is a corridor management plan? This is a plan that involves community stakeholders within the byway’s corridor in the effort to create a unified vision for the route – the preservation of its natural and cultural assets, and how the byway will be promoted to the to the rest of the world.
Since 2001 the Alliance for the Cumberlands has been building a strong network of member organizations throughout the region that are unified in their efforts to protect and grow the natural, cultural, and economic resources of the Cumberland Plateau region. The membership of the Alliance for the Cumberlands includes chambers of commerce, state and federal agencies, businesses and other non-profits.
In 2008 the Alliance aligned the agenda’s of this diverse network with the introduction of its Regional Branding initiative, Lets Go Plateau (www.letsgoplateau.com) and has also created Tennessee’s Cumberland Plateau Nature Trail (http://cpnaturetrail.com). By promoting the natural, cultural and historic assets of the Cumberland Plateau region the Alliance hopes to create a greater awareness of the region’s unique assets and make the preservation of these assets an important source of revenue for the counties of the region.
Turrentine said that the Alliance for the Cumberlands is pursuing four separate National Scenic Byway Designations across the Cumberland Plateau region and that this initiative has remained a top priority for their members and partners.