How do we meet the needs of travel and tourism, a dynamic and growing economic engine in this country?"
Robert Darbelnet, AAA president and CEO, posed this questions as the future of our national transportation system is brought into focus. Darbelnet was speaking to an audience of more than 150 people gathered last spring in eastern Maryland.
The final product of the conference, a report entitled, "A New Vision for the 21st Century," carried several recommendations. The report specifically recognized that recreation is directly dependent on the efficiency of the transportation system and that the primary mode of transportation - at 84 percent for trips of 100 miles or more - is the automobile.
How do America's byways fit into this picture? Many of those automobile travelers are choosing byways. Why? Because byways have the ability to make driving fun again. The report suggests that focused investments are needed for byways to assure that they maintain their unique, cherished appeal and to keep America's byways as enjoyable as possible.
Keeping the fun in driving is nothing new for the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway. Since its official designation as a state byway in 1998 and the ensuing national designation in 2005, the PBSB has infused the "wit and wink" of Paul Bunyan into its varied projects. In fact, the Web site smiles right back at visitors proclaiming, "Can people really have fun in the car? Welcome to the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway, where the legend and tall tales will tickle your funny bone and challenge your imagination. Glistening lakes loaded with history will accentuate your own recreation desires. And the rolling landscapes will reveal stories of geologic formation, varied settlements and ever-changing culture."
The Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway earned its national designation based on its intrinsic recreational value and the nationally significant story of the area's resorts. The national focus on the interconnectedness of recreation and transportation is an exact fit for this 54-mile byway.
To learn more about the Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway, visit www.paulbunyanscenicbyway.org. The transportation report is available at www.transportation1.org/tif5report.
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