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UPPER DELAWARE SCENIC BYWAY

Launches Interactive Website

July 10, 2007

REGIONAL – Following a year of planning and work, the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. announces the July 4th launch of its new, interactive website at www.upperdelawarescenicbyway.org.

 

The project was funded through a marketing grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), administered through the New York State Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byways Program.  W Design of Barryville, NY (www.wdesigngroup.com) designed and maintains the website.

 

The Internet site opens with a pictorial introduction inviting viewers to “Come enjoy a slow ride through our charming, historic and natural river towns.”

 

Visitors will quickly discover the reasons why the majority of New York State Route 97 in Orange, Sullivan, and Delaware Counties was officially designated by law on August 6, 2002 as the “Upper Delaware Scenic Byway” following a two-year, grassroots nomination process.

 

A comprehensive map leads visitors along the entire length of the designated byway route.  A click of the mouse calls up detailed views of five map areas: Southern Gateway (City of Port Jervis); Lower Section (Towns of Deerpark and Lumberland); Middle Section (Towns of Highland and Tusten); Upper Section (Towns of Cochecton and Delaware); and the Northern Gateway (Village of Hancock).

 

Additional web pages include: Map Sections; History; Natural Attractions; Recreation; Arts; Events; Side Trips; For Your Information; and Contact Us.

 

For some interactive fun, visitors are invited to “Share the Byway” by selecting an e-Postcard to personalize and send electronically.  Another feature allows individuals to submit their favorite images of the byway for exhibit in the Photo Gallery.

 

Regional listings under the categories of Shops & Services and Dine & Stay are still under development.  Businesses interested in taking advantage of this innovative, annual advertising opportunity are encouraged to contact Danielle Gaebel at (845) 252-7414 or ads@riverreporter.com.

 

New York State established its Scenic Byway program in 1992 to encourage economic development and resource protection, and to offer regional travel corridors that are distinctive for their outstanding scenic, recreational, cultural, natural, historic or archeological significance.  Over 2,500 miles of roadways are currently included in the NYS Scenic Byways System.

 

The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway links the major highways of Interstate-84 and I-86 (NY Rt. 17) on a route that largely parallels the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River.

 

Its dedication was celebrated on Sept. 21, 2002 with a traveling ceremony that featured 11 ribbon-cuttings from Port Jervis to Hancock, entertainment, and distribution of an historic booklet commemorating the construction of Route 97 in the late 1930s.

 

A non-profit, 501(c)3 organization was incorporated on April 1, 2003 to implement the byway’s Enhancement Concept Plan.

 

Subsequent activities have included: publication of seasonal rack cards; sponsorship of a Nov. 8, 2003 business conference entitled, “97 Reasons to Meet on the Byway”; installation of route marker highway signs featuring the byway’s color logo; and publication of 100,000 copies of full-color, 20-page “Meet Us on the Byway” travelogue brochures, in circulation since May 2006.  Other marketing efforts have included print advertisements in major travel guides, magazines, and newspapers.

 

As a fundraiser, UDSB, Inc. accepts $15 donations per copy of a benefit book entitled, “Hawk’s Nest: Newspaper History of the Road” by Town of Deerpark Historian Norma Schadt, that outlines the engineering marvel represented by this famous section of Rt. 97 offering majestic views of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River 200 feet below the cliffs.

 

From 1999 to June of 2007, UDSB, Inc. has secured $1,332,800 in state and federal grant funding for improvement projects benefiting the byway corridor and its communities.

 

A major portion of the grant funding – $600,000 from U.S. Congressman Maurice Hinchey and $250,000 from NYS Senator John J. Bonacic – is earmarked for construction of an Upper Delaware Scenic Byway Visitor Center along Rt. 97 in the Town of Cochecton, targeted for completion in 2009.

 

The Upper Delaware Scenic Byway is overseen by a local committee whose voting members are appointed by the municipalities through which the byway runs.

 

Current officers of Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. are: Chairperson Larry H. Richardson (Town of Cochecton); Vice-Chairperson Edward M. Boyer (Town of Tusten); and Secretary-Treasurer Norma Schadt (Town of Deerpark).

 

Fellow voting representatives include Dr. William J. Pammer (Sullivan County), Jim Serio (Village of Hancock), Rosie DeCristofaro (Town of Delaware), Andrew Valenti (Town of Highland), Nadia Rajsz (Town of Lumberland), Burton Thelander (Town of Deerpark), and Peter Osborne (City of Port Jervis).

 

Byway Committee meetings take place every fourth Monday at 7 p.m. in the office of the Upper Delaware Council at 211 Bridge St. in Narrowsburg.  All are welcome.

 

For more information on the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway or to request a brochure, write to P.O. Box 127, Narrowsburg, NY 12764; call Laurie Ramie at (845) 252-3022; visit the website at www.upperdelawarescenicbyway.org, or e-mail info@upperdelawarescenicbyway.org.