MILLINOCKET, Maine — The Grindstone Scenic Byway will extend from Medway’s Grindstone Road on Route 157 and Lake Road to the Baxter State Park entrance if regional and state officials have their way.
The Penobscot Valley Council of Governments and the Maine Department of Transportation have sought support for the extension from Millinocket Town Manager Eugene Conlogue and the Town Council. Both are receptive.
“The idea is that the designation helps an area’s economy by drawing more people into that area,” Conlogue said, “and people will go to visit those areas. How much it contributes to an area is probably minimal, but given that we do have a large recreation industry here, it is definitely worth pursuing.”
The Grindstone Scenic Byway was one of three new byways the Maine Department of Transportation added to the Maine Scenic Byways Program in 2007. The others are the Seboomook Scenic Byway, 49 miles of Route 15 from the Indian Hill Rest Area in Greenville northwest to the intersection of Route 15 and U.S. Route 201 in Jackman; and the Evans Notch Scenic Byway, 60 miles of Route 113 between Standish and the Batchelder’s Grant-Gilead town line.
The byways are featured on the state DOT Web site’s scenic roads listing, are printed on more than 10,000 DOT maps and have road signs advertising their status. This, and heavy Internet traffic, helps draw tourism.
Scenic byways also draw state and federal funding that can be used for roadside improvements — such as parking, signs, shoulder work, bicycle lanes and walking paths — all developed around a theme by local committees, which can apply for the funding.
With roots dating back to former first lady Lady Bird Johnson and the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, the scenic byways program languished from a lack of funding in Maine from the 1970s to 1993, when some funding was restored. The roads named in 2007 were the first in many years.
Scenic byways around the state
— Acadia Byway All-America Road on Mount Desert Island.
— Blackwoods Scenic Byway on Route 182 between Franklin and Cherryfield.
— Evans Notch Scenic Byway on Route 113 between Standish and the Batchelder’s Grant-Gilead town line.
— Fish River Scenic Byway on Route 11 between Portage Lake and Fort Kent.
— Grafton Notch Scenic Byway on Route 26, including parts of Grafton Notch State Park.
— Grindstone Scenic Byway on Routes 11 and 159 and the Grand Lake Road from Medway through Patten.
— Million Dollar View Scenic Byway along U.S. Route 1 in northern Washington and southern Aroostook counties.
— Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway along U.S. Route 201 in the upper Kennebec River Valley.
— Rangeley Lakes National Scenic Byway along parts of Routes 4 and 17 in the Rangeley area.
— Route 27 Scenic Byway in the Carrabassett River Valley between Kingfield and Coburn Gore.
— Schoodic National Scenic Byway along parts of U.S. Route 1 and Route 186 on Frenchman’s Bay and Schoodic Peninsula.
— Seboomook Scenic Byway, Route 15 from the Indian Hill Rest Area in Greenville to Jackman.