State designates first Seneca Lake Scenic Byway
SENECA LAKE—An 18 mile stretch of Route 414, between Watkins Glen and Lodi, was made an official scenic byway, Thursday, Aug. 2.
The New York State Senate approved the legislation in late March. It was given final legislative approval in early June by the assembly and was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last Thursday. A group of residents from around Hector, Lodi, and Trumansburg started the campaign to make it a scenic highway 10 years ago.
The state program defines a scenic byway as a road corridor that is of regionally outstanding scenic, recreational, cultural, historic significance. These corridors offer an alternative travel route to the major highways and daily travel patterns.
Resident Vicki Kelly explained it was Bruce Adams who originally came up with the idea in 2002. She said after seven years of compiling data and writing the proposal, the nomination was submitted to the New York State Department of Transportation three years ago.
“We’ve spent the last several years waiting for the legislation,” she said.
However, Kelly added Adams passed away earlier this year before the scenic byway designation was granted.
She said the group took a grassroots approach and did not hire a firm to create the proposal. The project team held open meetings to gather community input.
The group will now be called Seneca Lake Byway Inc. and will coordinate long-range plans. Kelly said the original idea was to make a scenic byway that ran all the way around Seneca Lake, but the team decided to start by getting a smaller section designated. The residents will now work to promote and market the scenic byway, develop additional tourist amenities, and enhance the tourist economy.
Steven Getman, scenic byway group member, thanked the state senators and assembly members who sponsored the bill. He said, “Their dedication and sponsorship of this bill will no doubt enhance tourism and local business. It will assist our region in promoting and maintaining the quality of life along Route 414.”
Sen. Tom O’Mara (R-C, Big Flats) said: “This is a state roadway offering some of the most impressive scenic beauty anywhere in New York state. It will be enhanced as a tourist attraction by this designation. We applaud this local vision and long-standing commitment to the byway, and we appreciate Governor Cuomo’s recognition of its importance to our region.”