Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway
Installation of the columbine Scenic Byway signs along the route has taken place.
The official Collegiate Peaks Scenic and Historic Byway web site has been developed.
The byway logo has been developed.
The Byway Management Plan has been developed and adopted by the County Commissioners. Read more about the Plan and download it here.
Three interpretive waysides were installed in June 2009 outside of Salida at the Ohio-Colorado Smelter, at the Zebulon Pike Historic Wayside on Hwy 285 and overlooking the Old Leadville Stagecoach Road near Granite on Hwy 24.
Early in 2004, the Chaffee County Heritage Advisory Board determined that one of its first priorities in highlighting the natural, cultural and historic resources of the county (its “Heritage”) was to pursue designation of a Scenic and Historic Byway. The rationale was that a Byway stretching north to south would link the county’s historic municipalities while also providing access to dozens of significant scenic vistas, undeveloped ranchlands, and world-class recreational opportunities for skiing, fishing, mountain climbing, rafting and kayaking. The Byway, while having significant and environmentally sensible economic benefits would also serve to unify the county’s citizens in their resolve to preserve and protect their heritage in parallel with inevitable development.
Initial discussions with local civic groups, municipalities, chambers of Commerce, public land managers and the County’s Board of Commissioners indicated support for proceeding to the nomination.
On November 17, 2005 the Colorado Transportation Commission designated another spectacular roadway as a Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway: the Collegiate Peaks Byway.
The 57-mile Collegiate Peaks Byway connects Granite, Buena Vista, Salida and Poncha Springs via US Highways 24, 285, 50 and State Highway 291.
The Collegiate Peaks Byway nomination was sought by the Chaffee County Heritage Area, a program administered by GARNA. The Heritage Area board recognized the economic, educational and recreational benefits associated with having a Scenic and Historic Byway within the county and made the nomination process a priority during the first year of the Heritage Area program.
This designation brings the total number of Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways to 25. Each route is marked by a blue columbine, Colorado's state flower and is highlighted on the Colorado Department of Transportation's annual travel map.
Now that the Collegiate Peaks Byway is formally designated, several steps will take place over the next 12-18 months, including installation of the well-recognized Byway signs which feature a Columbine flower, education of the public as to what if any added requirements or restrictions might be eventually implemented, and the development of a detailed Scenic Byway Management and Interpretation Plan. The plan must identify strategies and actions to preserve and manage resources along the Byway so that they remain available to visitors and residents alike; the plan will also address how to educate residents and visitors about what is available along the Byway and may include such actions as roadside exhibits, additional signs, visitor centers, brochures, maps and other publications. Marketing and services available to tourists will be addressed.
The Heritage Area Board has applied for a Federal Highway Administration grant with a cash match from Chaffee County to help prepare the Management Plan, and subsequent development of a Byway logo, website, and educational brochure.