Scenic Byway Planners Look for Local Involvement

Apr 23, 2014

Organizers around a proposed scenic byway near the Wolf River are trying to drum up local support for the plan.  Members of the public were invited to Mole Lake Wednesday to get involved. 

Organizers are pushing for a stretch of Highway 55 near the Wolf River to be designated as a scenic byway.
Credit Royalbroil via Wikimedia Commons

To convince state officials that Wolf River Heritage Corridor has what it takes to be a scenic byway, the first step was a detailed scenic assessment.  It scored each mile of the route based on natural beauty, historical significance and amenities.  Overall the byway averaged a promising 7 out of 8 possible points. 

Dennis Leong from the Department of Transportation says the next step is a plan for marketing and preserving the byway.   

“They’ve already passed the first test which is the scenic qualities.  So the next thing is they have to get together and kind of manage the corridor – how are you going to promote the corridor, and what things do you want to say about drawing people to the area.” 

Leong explains that more than two thirds of the communities included in the byway must pass a resolution in support of it, so public engagement is important. 

The proposed route follows Highway 55 from Langlade in the south to Nelma in the north, with an extra loop near Three Lakes.  It passes through the Sokaogon Chippewa Community and the Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest. 

President of the Forest County Economic Development Partnership RT Krueger thinks it will bring needed tourism dollars to the area. 

“I just hope it brings some recognition for some of the natural and cultural aspects that we have.  It’s a really neat stretch of road, it’s a very neat loop of road, and it’s something that people don’t get to experience.” 

There are four state-designated scenic byways in the state already, plus two designated by the US Forest Service.