News Release for August 27, 2010

For more Information:
Paul Merrill, Public Information Officer - 207-624-3355 or 207-215-9297


Dedication ceremony to open St. John Valley Cultural Byway

Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Cole, along with elected officials from the St. John Valley will formally dedicate Maine’s newest Scenic Byway, the St. John Valley Cultural Byway on Thursday, September 9 at 2 p.m. at the Acadian Village on Route 1 in Van Buren. Members of the public are encouraged to attend the ceremony.

The St. John Valley Cultural Byway, also know as the La Route Culturelle de la Vallee St-Jean is Maine’s thirteenth Scenic Byway. This Scenic Byway travels a total of 92 miles along the northern border of Maine and through the St. John Valley.

“Maine’s Acadian culture is centered here in the St. John Valley, and this Scenic Byway seeks to recognize the Acadian beliefs and experiences that shape the Acadian culture in the Valley,” said MaineDOT Commissioner David Cole. “This Scenic Byway recognizes the early settlers to the Valley who bestowed their culture upon the Valley as it highlights that culture and seeks to support its continuation as a unique component of Maine’s culture and history.”

The western terminus of the St. John Valley Cultural Byway begins in Dickey on Route 161, adjacent to the Allagash Historical Society Museum and continues eastward until it joins US Route 1 in Fort Kent. From Fort Kent, the byway follows Route 1 to the intersection of US Route 1 and US Route 1A in Van Buren. It then follows Route 1A to the Hamlin/Caswell town line. The byway also includes a section of Route 162 from the intersection of US Route 1 and Route 162 in Frenchville to the St. Agatha Boat Launch.

Maine’s newest Scenic Byway was based upon on application submitted by Northern Maine Development Commission. Over the next two years, a corridor management plan will be developed that features the historical and cultural contribution of the Maine Acadian settlers to the valley. The corridor management plan will also focus on other contributors, such as the Québécois, Scotch and Irish, and the Wesget Sipu, who were shaped in part by the Valley and who in turn contributed to the heritage of the valley.

Following completion of the corridor management plan, the Scenic Byway may apply for recognition as a National Byway. Such recognition has been bestowed on fewer than 200 such places in the United States. As a tourist attraction, National Byways rank very high in desired destinations for national and international travelers.