Goal is to show motorists the areas
historic, geologic and scenic sites
The Idaho Statesman
Just a hop, skip and jump from Boise are 40 miles of Idaho
road punctuated with historic sites, breathtaking scenery
and captivating geology.
Now the public is being asked to weigh in on how the Western
Heritage Historic Byway, which runs from Meridian through
Kuna to the Swan Falls Dam, should be managed and developed
in the future. An open house was held to collect public input
Thursday (April 8) at the Kuna Library.
The byway teaches surrounding communities and visitors about
local history, said Wendy Kirkpatrick, a byway advisory committee
I think part of why it´s important is so families
have a chance to really see what our heritage is, said
Kirkpatrick, who works for the city of Meridian as an associate
planner. There are a lot of things so different from
The byway starts at Meridian Road on the south side of the
Meridian Road/I-84 interchange, continues south on Highway
69 through Kuna, then heads down Swan Falls Road to the dam.
Along the way, drivers have the opportunity to stop at a
number of historic, geologic or scenic sites.
Sites under consideration for new or expanded development
include the Silver Trail, Pioneer Cemetery, Kuna Caves, Birds
of Prey National Conservation Area, Initial Point, Celebration
Park, a new visitor´s center in Kuna and a potential
loop through Melba.
Byways are an opportunity for communities to highlight their
most outstanding assets while attracting visitors and getting
economic benefits from tourism and recreation, Kirkpatrick
said. For example, travelers may stop in Kuna for a meal,
You will have people who are seeing the area and coming
through who wouldn´t have been there otherwise,
The route´s byway designation was born from the efforts
of Kuna´s Western Heritage Foundation and Kuna Futures,
a nonprofit group organized to plan for the city´s future.
We thought it might be a great economic benefit for
Kuna to have a historic byway, said Dave Lyon, a member
of Western Heritage Foundation and president of Kuna Futures.
We think it is an amenity because it will bring more
tourist traffic to the community.
The goal is to create a good visitor experience, said John
Bertram, project manager for the byway management plan.
What we are trying to create is a good visitor experience.
We have the opportunity to protect and enhance about a dozen
byway sites, he said. We want to protect them
for future generations, but we want to make them more usable.
The National Scenic Byways Program is a voluntary, community-based
program administered through the Federal Highway Administration
to recognize, protect, and promote America´s most outstanding
Through their state departments of transportation, communities
can apply for designation as a State or National Scenic Byway.
In order to receive historic byway status, communities agree
to ensure the safety and appearance of the route.
Cities also must preserve or enhance the value of surrounding
scenic, historic, cultural and archaeological features.
Idaho has 23 scenic, historic and backcountry byways, totaling