A new Internet site launched in late June will help summer travelers enjoy scenic views of Idaho while learning about the state's history.
The Idaho Scenic Byways site, at www.idahobyways.gov, promotes 27 byways throughout the state. It went active on the Internet on June 25.
The new site offers a drop-down menu that divides Idaho into three regions, and lists the byways in each region. Clicking on the byway displays information including their lengths, locations and the best time of the year to travel them. Each also includes phone numbers for national forests, recreation areas, hotels and motels in the byways.
On the Lake Coeur d'Alene Scenic Byway's Mineral Ridge Trail in northern Idaho, travelers can enjoy panoramic views of the lake and visit learning stations describing the area's wildlife and botany.
Travelers can see rock formations that reach to the sky, visit opal shops and the world's only captive geyser in eastern Idaho's scenic byways.
The site is designed to promote Idaho by engaging people with Idaho's history and outdoor attractions. Garry Young, Scenic Byways Coordinator/Program Manager for the Idaho Transportation Department, said it is created with interaction in mind.
"You can send e-mail postcards," Young said. "Each byway is also promoted through a slideshow that features pictures of byway history and their natural attractions. You've got a lot of different things that tourists will be interested in."
"This new site offers travelers useful information in a comprehensive way and will better help them in making their travel decisions," said Carl Wilgus, assistant deputy director of Idaho Commerce & Labor and the administrator for the Division of Tourism Development.
"We now have something that showcases the beauty of Idaho's scenic byways and allows Idaho Tourism another avenue with which to promote our state."
Young said the site lets travelers order a free scenic byway guide, and has links to a national byways Web site, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and the Idaho RV & Campground Association, among others.
Idaho is home to thousands of miles of scenic byways. It also offers 17 ski resorts and more whitewater than any other state in the lower 48.
The site was created through a partnership involving Idaho's Tourism Development Division and the Idaho Transportation Department. It was funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration.