This week, Senator Bill Larkin informs residents that the State Senate has passed a bill (S.6659) to add a portion of US Routes 44, 209; New York State Routes 52, 55, 208, 213, 299, 302; Ulster County Routes 1, 7, 9, 18; and Orange County Route 14, to the New York State Scenic Byways System and designate it as the Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway.
"The Legislature established the Scenic Byways Program in the Department of Transportation in 1992 to create a statewide system of scenic byways and to coordinate the activities of state agencies, local governments and not-for-profit organizations into one comprehensive program," said Senator Larkin. "This 82-mile corridor connects the Villages of New Paltz and Ellenville, Towns of Shawangunk, Rochester, New Paltz, Crawford, Gardiner, Marbletown, Montgomery, Rosendale and Wawarsing in Ulster and Orange Counties. When communities seek scenic byways designation for a highway, they must show that they are committed to the scenic, historic, natural, recreational, cultural and archeological resources associated with the proposed byways."
Senator Larkin said that the communities located along the proposed Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway have completed all the steps necessary to meet the necessary criteria. This included developing a vision statement and goals, identifying significant features and resources along the corridor, and preparing a comprehensive Corridor Management Plan.
"The Shawangunk Mountains Byway is renowned for providing some of the most awe-inspiring views in all of New York State," said Larkin. "With the designation of the Byway, residents and tourists alike will be able to experience the recreational, historic and environmental resources of the area." The plan includes recommendations for improved transportation throughout the region, which will serve to further promote tourism and economic development. This initiative is part of the overall plan for development of a system of Scenic Byways in the Hudson Valley. The Shawangunk Mountains Scenic Byway would be a model for future projects. According to Larkin, the plan promises to heighten the awareness of the region's environmental treasures. The bill now goes to the Assembly.