Route 6 Heritage Corridor Planning Efforts
PA Route 6 Management Action Plan / Historic Conservation Strategy and Corridor Management Plan
Management Action Plan (MAP) · Moving Forward Along Route 6
One of the requirements of a state-designated heritage area is to have a Management Action Plan (MAP) which looks at the key components of a heritage area and defines a 10-year plan. As we look ahead to our next ten years (2015-2025), we will also add two important components to this plan: A Corridor Management Plan (CMP), and a Historic Preservation Plan and Design Standards.
The purpose of the MAP is to define a region and provide a conceptual framework “that will structure the organization and development of the region as a Pennsylvania State Heritage Area and guide the implementation of related programs.” The Update of the MAP is intended to review these definitions and frameworks to reaffirm, refute or revise where appropriate. The initial MAP for PA Route 6 was completed in 2004. That MAP established the identity of the “PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor” and its unique heritage and served as the foundation in the designation of an official Heritage Area and in the execution of its activities.
Heritage Areas of Pennsylvania are principally funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and have experienced significant fluctuations in the provision of funding for projects and in program guidelines in recent years. The Updated MAP should address the evolution of funding and regulation of PA Route 6, the programs and projects under its care, and the sustainability of our partners.
Since the adoption of the MAP in 2004, the PA Route 6 Alliance has identified a goal of obtaining Pennsylvania Byway designation and ultimately National Scenic Byway/All American Road. The MAP/CMP must be the result of public input and must include “a strategy describing how existing development might be enhanced and new development might be accommodated while still preserving the intrinsic qualities of the corridor. This can be done through design review, and such land management techniques as zoning, easements, and economic incentives.” (Interim Policy for National Scenic Byways, 1995, vol. 60, no. 96 Section 9a.5) The updated MAP/CMP is expected to address the definition, requirements, challenges, and opportunities associated with these activities.
Recently the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor has witnessed significant change resulting from the exploration and transmission of Marcellus Shale natural gas and anticipates developments associated with future gas exploration. Increasingly, PA Route 6 recognizes the need to be involved in issues with the natural gas industry as they impact the natural, historic, recreation, and scenic resources of the corridor, especially in regard to the landscapes, communities, and waterways. The updated MAP/CMP should address these impacts and outline organizational roles and responsibilities with regard to natural gas industrial impacts and funding.
The initial MAP (2004) has been in implementation for ten years. The following are the status of the 10 action agenda items outlined in the initial MAP:
- A mile marker program featuring the trademarked “Do 6” logo has been installed along the corridor. The markers are two-sided and mark all 400 miles of US Route 6 and 27 miles of Route 6N. Even numbers are on the north side of the highway with odd numbers on the south.
- Several series of workshops, webinars, and podcasts have been developed in the past to help educate and build awareness of the PA Route 6 Initiative.
- Twenty communities along the corridor have been designated PA Route 6 Heritage Communities and are in the midst of implementing their Heritage WorkPlans. The WorkPlans were developed by a local stakeholders group and approved by the appropriate governing body.
- A Branding and Marketing Study was completed for the PA Route 6 Corridor. The final plan outlines strategies and creative concepts, which have been implemented in all print and interactive marketing including an annual map/guide and website.
- A hospitality training program, PA Pride, was developed by Penn State Cooperative Extension for the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor. The program has been tested in Potter County but not fully implemented across the corridor due to different programs being offered at the local level.
- A GIS/GPS database was developed for the PA Route 6 corridor in 2008.
- A variety of extended weekends and week-long itineraries have been developed and are posted on www.paroute6.comand other websites.
- A plan to develop Route 6 visitor centers in each of the 11 counties was abandoned in favor of supporting the visitor centers operated by the local convention and visitor bureaus.
- A Visitor Tourism and Infrastructure Study and Business Opportunity Plan for PA Route 6 were developed in 2008. These include a profile of tourism business, a review of visitor-oriented resources, an analysis of scenic overlooks and pull-offs, identification of hospitality hubs, a gaps analysis, and visitor readiness assessments for the major PA Route 6 hubs.
- An interpretive plan for PA Route 6 was developed in 2002 that identifies 6 major themes for the Heritage Corridor.
The updated MAP/CMP is expected to outline goals and strategies for the next 10 years as well as meet requirements of the National Scenic Byway designation by the Federal Highways Administration.
The development of a Preservation Plan and Design Standards Guidelines for the PA Route 6 Heritage Corridor will help meet requirements set forth by both DCNR for the Management Plan revision and the development of a Corridor Management Plan for National Scenic Byway designation. The Plan and Guidelines will require working with communities and counties to address preservation and development needs and offer resolutions. An assessment template, Best Practices, and other programs will be developed to provide tools as identified within the Statewide Historic Preservation Plan 2012-2017, specifically Action 1.3 – 1.5. The plan should address Historic Preservation Activities and Programs that will protect intrinsic values of cultural, natural, and human resources.
From 2007 to 2012, twenty communities were assisted in developing their own PA Route 6 Heritage Plans and have been designated PA Route 6 Heritage Communities. These communities represent the jewels along Route 6. Their plans make recommendations on how each community can tell its own unique story, enhance its surroundings and create a prosperous economy. This program was funded through the SafeTea-Lu program, PennDOT, and PA DCNR.
First Industry Tourism Plan
In 2008, under the First Industry Tourism Program with the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the PA Route Corridor updated its resource inventory and completed a Tourism Infrastructure Study and Business Opportunity Plan. These studies and plans define the needs along the Heritage Corridor and begin to implement elements of the Management Action Plan:
- Resource Inventory · A GIS database of the tourism-related, recreational, and service-based businesses that can be sorted by regions, counties, and categories. The inventory is available at the Planning office of every county along Route 6 or by contacting us.
- Tourism Infrastructure and Business Opportunity Plan
- Tourism Infrastructure Plan
This plan includes sections on the following:
- The Profile of Tourism Businesses · This section profiles the business base and determines strengths, opportunities, and gaps for future developmental activities.
- Visitor-Oriented Resources and Services · This section reviews the PA Route 6 corridor giving special attention to traffic, visitor centers, and interpretive kiosks.
- Scenic Overlooks and Pull-Offs · This section describes assets that are viewable by the traveler, including scenic overlooks and pull-offs, and other tourism viewing opportunities.
- Identification of Hospitality Hubs and Gaps Analysis · A community-level analysis of critical communities within the context of the hospitality infrastructure, an Economic Gaps Analysis of the eleven counties, and a Physical Gaps Analysis.
- Visitor Readiness Assessment of each Hospitality Hub or Cluster · and recommendations and priorities for enhancement of the “hospitality culture”.
- Survey of Accommodations · focused on the needs, issues, and perceptions of the accommodations segment comprised of Motels/Hotels/Resorts, B&B’s, and Country Inns.