Hg Consult Project Helps With National Byway Designation
It was recently announced that the Scenic Highway of Legends, located in southeastern Colorado, is now part of the National Scenic Byway System. This designation is an honor and befits its unique qualities. Featuring the majestic Spanish Peaks, where gold-seeking conquistadors, European settlers, and Native Americans once roomed, the byway provides access for sightseeing, tourism, and outdoor recreation. The byway route (US 160 and CO 12) links Trinidad, La Veta, and Walsenburg.
Last Fall, Hg Consult completed a Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) Study for the byway. This study, sponsored by Colorado Department of Transportation and the South Central Council of Governments, created a new vision for the byway consisting of highway safety, recreational trail, and scenic and historic amenity improvements. Developed in concert with local communities, residents, and resource agencies, renewed enthusiasm was generated. This momentum resulted in an all-volunteer effort, led by the Byway Board, for the National System application and resulting designation. Debra Malone, the Board Director, states:
“The Hg Team involved our byway communities every step of the way during the 18 months of the PEL Study. They all understood that our 82-mile byway is an economic lifeline for our small byway communities here in the Spanish Peaks region. We were all struck by their generosity as they shared data that they were generating, and with their dedication of providing a constant feedback loop of information to the public.”
This new designation is a tribute to the beautiful landscapes and culture of the region and the dedication of its residents. Combined with the PEL Study, it further positions the byway for future funding and investment. In addition to providing exploration opportunities, the state’s byways are an important asset for economic development. It is estimated the Scenic Highway of Legends provides nearly $180 million in economic benefit to the Spanish Peaks Country.