“2007 Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Project” receives prestigious award at National Scenic Byways 2009 Conference in Denver, Colorado
Teresa Mitchell, Great Lakes Seaway Trail, 315-646-1000
Denver, CO, September 1, 2009 – The “2007 Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Project” that put a spotlight on the maritime heritage resources of the 518-mile coastal region of the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania received a 2009 Scenic Byway Award for Interpretation during the National Scenic Byways 2009 Conference in Denver, Colorado, in August.
Project partners Great Lakes Seaway Trail President and CEO Teresa Mitchell, New York Sea Grant Recreation and Tourism Specialist Dave White accepted the award on behalf of their organizations and the New York State Scenic Byways Program.
The prestigious award sponsored by the America’s Byways Resource Center, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) recognizes projects of excellence from across the country.
Selection by a panel of byway community experts is based on four criteria: community involvement and public outreach, partnerships, advancing the goals of the byway’s corridor management plan, and innovation.
“We hope these winning projects will inspire new efforts to preserve, protect, interpret, and promote the intrinsic qualities along America’s Byways, distinctive routes designated by the National Scenic Byways Program,” said America’s Byways Resource Center Director Michelle Johnson.
Seaway Trail, Inc. President and CEO Teresa Mitchell said, “Maritime history is a strong travel theme for the Great Lakes Seaway Trail.
The Dive the Seaway Trail project and the 2007 shipwrecks series are among the ways we encourage divers, history buffs and travelers to explore the full length of our freshwater America’s Byway to discover the rich underwater history of the 518-mile coastal region as represented by our only-found-here shipwrecks, 28 historic lighthouses and maritime museums.”
The “2007 Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Project” combined exhibitry on land-based and underwater maritime heritage resources exclusive to the Great Lakes Seaway Trail byway region at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center in Sackets Harbor, NY, with an expert speakers series, a new Great Lakes Seaway Trail maritime theme-based outdoor storyteller interpretive signage system, the Dive the Seaway Trail project and online resources to engage a broader public audience.
The Dive the Seaway Trail project, coordinated by New York Sea Grant, Oswego, NY, involves local community-based stewardship of historic dive sites and underwater landscapes accessed from the Great Lakes Seaway Trail byway that is both an America’s Byway and a National Recreation Trail.
Dive the Seaway Trail marketing materials attract scuba divers who represent an annual economic impact of more than $108 million to New York’s Great Lakes Seaway Trail region (New York Sea Grant).
Seaway Trail, Inc. Board Member and Dive the Seaway Trail Project Coordinator Dave White of New York Sea Grant, Oswego, NY, said, “Our economic survey clearly showed the opportunity to interpret and market the region to divers and we found that non-diving history enthusiasts also welcomed the program series that has now set a standard for interpreting the other unique themes of New York’s freshwater, Seaway Trail shoreline region.”
Dive the Seaway Trail is part of the New York State Blueway Trail project that is linking submerged heritage preserves with recreational opportunities, local heritage attractions, greenways and byways statewide.
New York State Scenic Byways Coordinator Mark Woods of the New York State Department of Transportation Landscape Architecture Bureau said, “The awards that have been granted to this shipwrecks series recognize the link between the byway, its parallel underwater landscape and the unique destinations and experiences found only along New York’s Great Lakes Seaway Trail.”
The Seaway Trail, Inc. and the Seaway Trail Foundation also received awards for the “2007 Shipwrecks of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Project” from the Upstate History Alliance in 2008 and a 2008 New York State Governor’s Adventure Tourism Award. The 518-mile freshwater coastal byway was named a first-round National Scenic Byway in 1996; it was designated as a National Recreation Trail in the 1980s.