“Explore Undiscovered North Florida: The Big Bend Scenic Byway will transport you to a different time and place through its wildlife, waterways, woods, and way of life.” This is the theme for Florida’s Big Bend Scenic Byway, a National Scenic Byway that passes through Leon, Wakulla, and Franklin counties. The scenic byway is over 220 miles long and offers an abundance of ways to explore north Florida’s natural environment, including the Apalachicola National Forest, St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, Tate’s Hell State Forest, Wakulla State Forest, Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park, and much more!
Many of the intrinsic resources along the byway are universally accessible so everyone can enjoy all that the byway has to offer, such as camping, hiking, kayaking, shopping at local businesses, and visiting unique local communities. Many of the proposed Capital City to the Sea Trails corridors mirror parts of the scenic byway, adding more activities that visitors can enjoy.
The Capital City to the Sea Trails project is consistent with the Big Bend Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan, which includes the following strategies:
- Collaborate with State, regional, county, and local authorities to improve universal design and connectivity between and among existing trail networks.
- Encourage coordination of regional transportation planning with FDOT, local governments, the MPO (CRTPA), US 98 Corridor Authority, the Regional Planning Council (ARPC), and land management entities on regionally significant projects.
- Encourage enhancement projects along the Byway corridor to improve bicycle and pedestrian access, connectivity, and facilities.
- Encourage the use of alternative means of transportation, including, but not limited to wheelchairs, bicycles, all-terrain and off-road vehicles (when appropriate), in order to reach intrinsic resource destinations.
For more information about the Big Bend Scenic Byway and for itineraries to help plan your next trip, please visit their website http://www.floridabigbendscenicbyway.com/
The following timeline shows the major accomplishments the byway has achieved:
- 2001 – Big Bend Scenic Byway began the process to become a designated Florida Scenic Highway (FSH)
- July 2006 – The Wakulla County segments were approved for designation as FSH by Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)
- July 2006 – The Franklin County segments were approved for designation as FSH by FDOT
- February 2007 – The Leon County segment were approved for designation as FSH by FDOT
- October 2007 – Completion of initial signing plan for the Byway
- December 2008 – Application was submitted to the Federal Highway Administration for consideration to be a National Scenic Byway
- October 2009 – Big Bend Scenic Byway is officially designated as a National Scenic Byway
- March 2009 – The Big Bend Scenic Byway Interpretive and Wayshowing Plan was developed
- December 2011 – The Five-Year Corridor Management Plan Update was completed