Public input sought on revamping of Unaweep scenic byway plan

Comments are due by next Wednesday on a proposed new management plan for the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway that travels 132 miles south and west from Whitewater to Placerville.

The byway cuts through three counties — Mesa, Montrose and San Miguel — and runs through communities such as Gateway and Norwood. It contains a wide variety of geologic formations and scenic wonders, including Unaweep Canyon and the Dolores River Canyon, as well as historical points of interest such as the Driggs Mansion and the Hanging Flume.

Designated as a scenic byway in the late-1980s, the Unaweep-Tabeguache byway has been managed by a board of directors operating under an earlier plan. But changes in federal funding require byways to have “a clearly defined mission and focus, an efficient and effective organizational structure and strong leadership,” according to the website for the byway.

Top priorities include:

■ Changing the name to Colorado Canyon Country Byway.

■ Working with the Colorado Department of Transportation to identify and approve key pullouts along the byway.

■ Creating informational portals for the byway in Whitewater, Placerville and the Paradox Valley.

■ Creating a website.

■ Creating interpretive signs for four to eight new sites.

■ Supporting local efforts to enhance the visitor experience in each byway community.

■ Working with Gateway Canyons Resort to create byway-related materials and exhibits.

■ Focus marketing efforts on the region and Colorado’s Western Slope.

The update is coordinated through the Interpretive Association of Western Colorado in Delta. Download a copy of the draft plan or comment on it at utbywayplan.com.


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