The Journey Through Hallowed Ground

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Byway Project Wins National Award-Award Reinforces Community's Commitment to Preserving National Heritage as Economic Engine

09/08/2011 09:49 am

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WATERFORD, VA, September 7, 2011 – On the heels of earning a $1.3 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration to create way-finding and digital tools for visitors traveling The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership received a highly prestigious national award for its plan that helped create and manages the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway.

On August 24, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Corridor Management Plan was honored for Planning Excellence by the American Byways Resource Center at the National Scenic Byways 2011 Conference in Minneapolis, MN, sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, which recognized just eight projects nationwide. 

“What makes the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership a true success is the participation and engagement of the communities throughout the JTHG National Heritage Area,” said Cate Magennis Wyatt, president of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership.  “Without their voices, vision, and commitment, this plan would mean very little.”

 “This award is in recognition of the thousands of citizens within this exceptional National Heritage Area who participated in this collaborative effort.  It is a reflection of their dedication to sustaining the unique characteristics of their communities while incorporating the 400 years of national history found here as an economic engine,” Magennis-Wyatt explained. 

Sixty community-input sessions spanning a 20-month period served as the foundation of the JTHG Partnership’s Corridor Management Plan – a collaborative effort that involved the communities from Gettysburg, PA to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA.  Thousands of citizens, developers, elected officials and representatives from the Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation, participated in the development of it.

Congressman Frank Wolf  (VA-10) explained, “The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership diligently has worked with dozens of dozens of communities, citizens and local businesses to win federal designation of the National Scenic Byway that will bring crucial tourism dollars to the historic towns and attractions between Gettysburg and Monticello.  Their demonstration of partnership is exemplary and something we can all strive to match.”

The JTHG Partnership’s Corridor Management Plan has now served as the basis for two cornerstone accomplishments for the JTHG National Heritage Area: one, designation of the 180-mile thoroughfare running through the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area as a National Scenic Byway by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood; and two, securing the recent grant from the Federal Highway Administration to create way-finding signage, brochures and a mobile application to provide users multimedia information about the heritage sites, recreational attractions, and vibrant downtowns along the JTHG National Scenic Byway. 

Secretary LaHood explained that, "Transportation investments like these will create jobs, increase mobility, improve quality of life for all Americans and strengthen our national economy."

Added Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA-11), ”Efforts led by the JTHG Partnership already significantly benefit the region with increased tourism from visitors across the globe, providing a better understanding of our shared national heritage and delivering the region untold prestige.  Now, by adding terrific digital tools to further learn about and experience the rich culture, history and heritage found along the 180-mile JTHG National Scenic Byway, the JTHG Partnership is going the extra mile to help the region and surely due another award like this.”

Tourism is the largest employer within the JTHG National Heritage Area, accounting for more than 54,000 jobs in 15 counties and 4 states and each year, generating more than $3 billion in annual revenue.

Plus a recent research study by the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council (USCHT) in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Commerce, revealed that 78% of all U.S. leisure travelers participate in cultural and/or heritage activities while traveling, translating to 118.3 million adults each contribute more than $192 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

The JTHG Corridor Management Plan outlines strategies for interpreting and telling the stories of this valuable landscape, rich in historical, natural, scenic and recreational resources.  The plan presents an approach – Context Sensitive Solutions – for maintaining and enhancing the unique character of the travel route and the communities it serves.

Lardner/Klein Landscape Architects, P.C., a nationally recognized leader in preparing corridor management plans for the heritage tourism and travel industry culled the information gathered in the public sessions and formally prepared the management plan. 

The National Scenic Byway designation is one of the highest honors the Secretary can bestow upon a public road and one that already is having an economic impact on local jurisdictions along the esteemed heritage route that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA and follows what was once called the Old Carolina Road.  Today it’s US Rt. 15, VA 231, VA 20 and VA 53.  The JTHG National Scenic Byway is part of the America’s Byways® collection of 150 distinctive routes nationwide designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

This is the fourth award the JTHG Partnership has received for its Corridor Management Plan.  Preservation Pennsylvania, the American Planning Association Virginia Chapter and the Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects all have honored the plan.

Award selection was determined by a panel of byway-community experts from across the nation and based on level of community involvement and public outreach; partnership development; advancement of the goals of the byway’s corridor management plan; and, innovation.  The winning projects must also serve as successful models for other byway organizations and corridors.

“We hope these winning projects will inspire new efforts to preserve, protect, interpret, and promote the intrinsic qualities along America’s Byways, said Michelle Johnson, director of America’s Byways Resource Center.”

The Journey Through Hallowed Ground is a National Heritage Area with a National Scenic Byway running through it.  From Gettysburg to Monticello, it’s known as the region Where America Happened ™.  It contains more history than any other region in the nation and includes: National and World Heritage sites, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Heritage districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Park units, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 Historic Main Street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, French-Indian War, War of 1812 as well as the largest collection of Civil War sites in the nation.

The JTHG Partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the unparalleled history within the swath of land from Monticello to Gettysburg and has successfully created the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area and has had the Old Carolina Road (Rt. 15/20/231) from Gettysburg, through Maryland, to Monticello designated a National Scenic Byway. For more information, go to: www.HallowedGround.org

For more information about America’s Byways, visit www.byways.org

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