Celebrating Roads Less Traveled

Sep 30, 2013

As fall color enters its prime, it’s Rustic Roads week. Since 1973 the state Department of Transportation given the designation to over a hundred lightly traveled roads in Wisconsin.

It's Rustic Roads week in Wisconsin.
Credit Randen Pederson

Rustic Roads Coordinator Jane Carrola says the program was a unique idea when it began.

"I like to refer to the Rustic Roads program as a 'Wisconsin original,'" she says. "It was a very innovative idea in 1973 and Wisconsin was one of the first states to have such a program.”

Carrola says the program is still going strong 40 years after it began. All Rustic Roads have a maximum speed limit of 45 miles per hour. They range from less than 2 miles long to almost 40 miles long. Carrola says the program is aimed at preserving and protecting the scenic routes.

"This is the first year Governor Walker has proclaimed a Rustic Roads Week in Wisconsin," she explains. "It’s a chance to draw attention to the 114 designated Rustic Roads all around the state.”

The DOT has a travel guide to Rustic Roads throughout the state on its website. There is at least one marked road in almost every northern county.