The Bold Coast Scenic Byway

The Bold Coast Scenic Byway gives travelers personal access to a way of life historically bound to the wild and scenic coastal environment.  Active fishing villages, working-forests, family farms, and prolific blueberry barrens reflect this relationship as people continue to harvest the seasonal bounty of land and sea, much as their ancestors have done for centuries. The Bold Coast Scenic Byway is a 125-mile driving route that invites visitors to explore the culture, history, wildlife, and rugged, unspoiled beauty of coastal “Downeast” Maine. The byway route is strung with active fishing harbors and downtowns composed of historic structures that exemplify the wealth of 19th Century ship captains and lumber barons; as well as the industrial history of the shipping, lumbering, fishing, boatbuilding, and canning trades. The byway route winds its way along the coast, passing through wild blueberry barrens; abundant farmland; coastal forests; tidal marshes and bays; and clear-flowing rivers, streams, and lakes. The Byway route extends from the fishing community of Milbridge northeasterly through coastal and riverine villages to Lubec, the easternmost point of land in the United States and gateway to Canada’s Campobello Island; and skirts the coastline of Cobscook Bay, through the Pleasant Point Indian Reservation to Eastport, an historic fishing port overlooking international waters and the Fundy Isles of New Brunswick, Canada. In this far-flung corner of eastern Maine, salt air and solitude rejuvenate the soul. People live in rhythm with the shifting of the tides, the migration of the fish, the rising of the sun, the turning of the leaf, and the warming of the soil. Visitors are invited to experience the gentle pull of this magical landscape, to create memories with their local hosts and newfound friends, to connect with the simple joys and strengthening challenges of living in the Bold Coast region. The Bold Coast Scenic Byway was officially designated as a Maine Scenic Byway[1] on June 8, 2011. It is the longest scenic byway in Maine.

Guiding Principals for Byway Designation

The Bold Coast Scenic Byway brings recognition to the region, sparks curiosity about the people, culture, and history; and provides access to the beauty, solitude, and rejuvenating aspects of landscape. The Bold Coast Scenic Byway provides unique and personal visitor experiences that celebrate and support the Downeast way of life. Stories of the region, and of a deep relationship with the landscape, are brought to life for visitors and residents alike through hands-on activities and direct interaction with local residents. Safe and efficient access to the numerous multi-modal and multi-seasonal recreation opportunities draws patrons to local businesses and cultural community events year round. Bold Coast region marketing and promotion focuses on attracting and retaining enough overnight and repeat visitors to the greater Bold Coast region so that existing businesses are well-supported, new ones are created, and the season is extended. The Bold Coast Scenic Byway effort promotes networking, partnering, and proactive regional and community involvement! Byway designation does not require towns to adopt additional zoning or land use regulations however. Byway designation does encourage collaboration between municipal governments and regional organizations by providing a framework within which communities work together toward a common goal of protecting, enhancing, and promoting the Bold Coast way of life.

The Maine Scenic Byways Program

The Maine Scenic Byways program is a community-based consensus and partnership program administered by the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT). CAG, COC’s, Rotaries, MAMA, JEDC, local youth groups The Byway program promotes economic development along roadways that offer the traveler an opportunity to experience exceptional scenic, cultural, recreational, archeological, and historical qualities. The ultimate goal of the Program is to preserve, maintain, protect and enhance Maine's unique intrinsic resources. The Maine Scenic Byways Program Mission Statement reflects the interconnected nature of Maine's roadways, resources and communities: The Maine Scenic Byways Program will preserve, maintain, protect and enhance the intrinsic resources of scenic corridors through a sustainable balance of conservation and land use.   Through community-based consensus and partnerships, the program will promote economic prosperity and broaden the traveler's overall recreational and educational experience. Scenic Byway designation promotes economic development by:
  • Introducing visitors to the beauty, solitude, and rejuvenating qualities of the landscape;
  • Providing access to the numerous recreational opportunities;
  • Sparking curiosity about the people, culture, and history of the region; and
  • Enticing patrons to local businesses and community events and celebrations.
The Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Office of Tourism (MOT) are important partners in promotion and program development. State designation of the Byway places the region on the State’s Scenic Byways map, the MaineDOT Explore Maine webpage, and on the Maine Office of Tourism (MOT) webpages and brochures. Designation increases eligibility for MOT, MaineDOT and Federal Highway Administration grants, which are used to develop improvements such as interpretive materials and signage; public facilities; turnouts and parking areas; upgrades to pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure; and funds for successful long-term administration of these improvements.

Public Participation

The long-range success of the Bold Coast Scenic Byway depends on developing achievable goals, sound strategies, realistic priorities, and efficient action plans.  Above all, the Bold Coast Scenic Byway is a community asset whose greatest potential is realized only through impassioned community participation and strong community partnerships. Recognizing this, a Corridor Advisory Group (CAG) was formed to guide the development of this Corridor Management Plan. The CAG is comprised of over 50 local residents, business owners, community and municipal leaders, community conservation and development organizations, and representatives of specific cultural, social, and economic interest groups. The Corridor Advisory Group provided first-hand insight and local expertise from across the entire Bold Coast region. The group is engaged in assessing key natural and cultural assets of the byway corridor, identifying market opportunities, developing strategies to meet opportunities through conservation and creative use of corridor assets, and prioritizing specific projects to implement key strategies.  The group voiced concerns, presented ideas, contributed resources, and prioritized actions in order to create a management plan that is representative of the values, strengths, and personalities of the diverse communities through which the byway passes. A larger group of over 200 regional stakeholders also provided support and guidance throughout the planning process. A total of 24 public meetings were held throughout the byway region. Meetings were scheduled in various locations and at various times in order to allow a diverse and widespread population the opportunity to attend. Corridor Advisory Group members and regional stakeholders were kept informed through email updates and requests for feedback, a planning website, a public website, and a Facebook page. For a full list of public meetings and participants in the planning process, please see Appendix 6, Public Participation. [1] http://www.exploremaine.org/byways/index.shtml

Inventorying Our Scenic Resources

Inventorying Our Scenic Resources

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