M-134 has been officially designated as the first Pure Michigan Scenic Byway in the State, under the recently re-branded Heritage Route program.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2015
CONTACT: Dan Weingarten, MDOT Office of Communications, 906-485-6322, ext. 136
M-134 designated first new Pure Michigan Byway
– M-134 in the Upper Peninsula became the first highway to be designated a Pure Michigan Byway under the state‘s newly rebranded byway program.
– The new M-134 North Huron Byway is located in Chippewa and Mackinac counties, running from I-75 to the village of Detour and on to Townline Road on Drummond Island.
– A new sign unveiled at today’s announcement will be the statewide standard for all Pure Michigan Byways.
– Existing Heritage Route markers will only be replaced as needed during regularly scheduled sign replacement projects.
October 16, 2015 — The Pure Michigan campaign hit the road today, as a 50-mile stretch of Upper Peninsula highway was officially designated the first new Pure Michigan Byway.
In a ceremony Friday in Cedarville attended by local, state and tribal officials, state legislators, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) staff, and residents, M-134 officially became a Pure Michigan Byway under the state’s re-branded byway program.
MDOT and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC) collaborated to reinvent the state’s former Heritage Route program. “This rebranding aligns the byway program much more closely with the wildly successful statewide Pure Michigan travel and tourism initiatives,” said Tom Doyle, MDOT transportation planner. “The Pure Michigan Byway program makes sure our rich heritage of local highways and roadsides plays an important role in improving Michigan’s economy and quality of life. Tying it to the Pure Michigan campaign will only raise the program’s profile.”
The new M-134 North Huron Byway is located in Chippewa and Mackinac counties, running from I-75 to the village of Detour and on to Townline Road on Drummond Island, following Lake Huron’s north shore in the southeastern corner of the U.P. It was chosen for the designation based on its outstanding recreational and scenic qualities. It joins 16 other outstanding highways around Michigan in the byway program.
“The whole program is about getting people to get off the freeway to take ‘the road less traveled’,” Doyle said. “We have such rich history, these scenic vistas – and on our Byways you can really see it.”
Established by the Michigan Legislature in 1993, the Michigan Heritage Route program was founded as a grassroots effort uniting local residents, government officials, landowners, and other interested groups in a common cause to preserve the state’s unique scenic, historic or recreational highways. In 2014, the Legislature changed the name from Heritage Route to Pure Michigan Byway.
State Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, sponsored the House bill to create the Pure Michigan Byway program. “M-134 is getting a totally justifiable designation as a Pure Michigan Byway today,” Pettalia said. “And now that we have these new signs, we can also improve the Pure Michigan brand. As a state, we have to encourage people to visit and then convince them it’s a great place to do business. First, we have to get them here – and Pure Michigan does that.”
Friday’s event also unveiled a new design for route markers. New signs were developed through cooperation between the MEDC, MDOT, and the various byway committees. The new markers incorporate the popular “Pure Michigan” campaign logo and the word “Byway,” which is used nationwide in 45 other state programs.
The new sign unveiled at today’s announcement will be the statewide standard for all Pure Michigan Byways. Existing Heritage Route markers will only be replaced as needed during regularly scheduled sign replacement projects. In addition to raising the route’s profile, the designation will also make M-134 eligible for state and federal funding to assist with future route planning.
Historically, planning projects for byways have included sign studies, nonmotorized trail planning, marketing plans, and corridor management plan updates. “There is a driving guide being put together by MDOT and the MEDC, a whole host of things that will help raise the profile of this area,” said Jeff Hagan, chief executive officer of the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning Commission, who spearheaded the drive for the Byway designation. “There are so many opportunities here.”
For more information on Pure Michigan Byways and a statewide map of the routes, visit http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1607,7-151-9621_11041_11209—,00.html.