Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Project development

Environmental process | Environmental review

Scenic Byways


The National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) is a voluntary, community-based program administered through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to recognize, protect, and promote America’s outstanding roads. Through the state departments of transportation oversight, the scenic, natural, recreational, cultural, historic, and archaeological intrinsic qualities are to be protected, enhanced, and promoted. Such designated corridors are managed to protect the community character (including Tribal communities) while providing economic opportunities and development through tourism and recreation.

When to use this subject

Follow the guidance in this TPDP entry if your project is on a Minnesota Scenic Byway. To determine if your project is on a Minnesota Scenic Byway, follow the instructions below:

  • Go to Environmental Landscape Mapper (This site is accessible only to computers on the MnDOT network.)
  • Open Layer Visibility, click on STIP Bridge or Pavement Projects to find your project
  • Determine if your project is on or potentially impacting a byway (access, proximity):
    • Click on the Common Layers
    • Click on Scenic Byways to open the alignment map for 22 Minnesota Scenic Byways

How this subject fits into the overall project development process

Scenic Byway corridors should be identified during the Scoping phase. Pre-scoping engagement activities should include a discussion of with local stakeholders when the intrinsic qualities or traveler experience of the scenic byway are impacted. Example: tree/vegetation removal, re-alignment, shoulder improvements, waysides, signage. A Visual Impact Assessment may help identify these impacts and suggest mitigation or enhancement.  Scheduling the Visual Impact Assessment is determined by the Project Manager in coordination with Environmental Assessment Unit (NEPA) and the Environmental Planning and Design Unit. Project Managers should contact the Statewide Scenic Byways Program Coordinator to discuss potential impacts, corridor management plan implementation opportunities and connect you with the byway organization.

See Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plans for the most current plans. Each Scenic Byway has a Corridor Management Plan (CMP). A Corridor Management Plan (CMP) is written and developed by the communities and transportation agencies along a scenic byway. It outlines how to protect, enhance, and promote the byway's intrinsic qualities and character.

The FHWA’s National Scenic Byways Program requires corridor management plans (CMP) for scenic byway designation. CMPs are community-based and flexible "living documents" that typically address issues such as tourism development, historic and natural preservation, roadway safety and economic development. They are guided by the "14-point plan" developed by the FHWA National Scenic Byways Program. It is important to remember that the CMP is a guide that identifies major goals, issues, and strategies, but does not necessarily anticipate your project needs or opportunities it may present.

Organizations involved