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In 1993, the state legislature passed Public Act 69 that directed MDOT to establish a program of identifying, promoting, and protecting roadways to be known as Heritage Routes. In 2014, Public Act 445 was passed to rename the program Pure Michigan Byways. Public Act 445 aligns the program with the award winning Pure Michigan Campaign and statewide travel and tourism initiatives.
The goal of the program is to identify and designate certain portions of the state trunk line highways system as Pure Michigan Byways for the enhancement and enjoyment of Michigan’s scenic, recreational, and historic resources along its roadside.
The Pure Michigan Byways Program has two elements – designating new byways and maintaining existing byway designations. MDOT is responsible for review and approval of new state designated byways applications as they are received by newly formed byways committees. Once approved, byway committees may receive administrative support from its affiliated Regional Planning Agency (RPA) and may be eligible for funding on an annual basis, if available, to advance the planning activities identified in their Corridor Management Plan. MDOT is responsible for the review, approval, and oversight of these funds.
Of the 22 byways, three have received national status designations through the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Apply for a Pure Michigan Byway Designation
If there is an interest in designating a new Pure Michigan route in Michigan, proceed with the following steps:
- Verify the route is on a state trunkline (I, M or U.S. route).
- Be prepared to show evidence of support in the form of a certified resolution from local units of government along the proposed byway.
- Fill out the online Pre-Application Form.
- Participate in a meeting with the Byways Program Manager to discuss pre-application submittal.
- Proceed with a full application only when approval has been given by MDOT.
MDOT will make an initial review of the proposed route's eligibility. If the route has potential, the sponsor will submit a full application form and be instructed to proceed with the process. The application will be evaluated and, if the road meets criteria, it will become a Pure Michigan Byway.
Existing Byways Corridor Management Plans
The following Corridor Management Plans (CMP) are prepared by the Regional Planning Agency on behalf of MDOT. The CMPs describe the state of the byway and the corridors, how to get to the byway and navigate the route, the significance of historic, cultural and natural resources, the plans and programs to preserve and enhance the byway, as well as identifying future needs of the byway. If you would like a CMP that is available upon request, e-mail MDOT-Byways@Michigan.gov.
|Byway Name||Byway Type||Corridor Management Plan||Regional Planning Agency|
|M-1 Woodward Avenue||All American Road||Available upon request||SEMCOG|
|US-41 Copper Country Trail||National Scenic Byway||Copper Country Trail National Byway||WUPPDR|
|M-65 River Road||National Scenic Byway||Available upon request||NEMCOG|
|Whitefish Bay National Forest||National Forest Scenic Byway||Not available through MDOT||EUPRPDC|
|Black River National Forest||National Forest Scenic Byway||Not available through MDOT||WUPPDR|
|M-22 Byway||State Scenic Byway||M-22 Pure Michigan Byway||Networks Northwest|
|M-37 Old Mission Peninsula||State Scenic Byway||M-37 Scenic Heritage Route||Networks Northwest|
|M-119 Tunnel of Trees||State Scenic Byway||M-119 Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route||Networks Northwest|
|M-123 Tahquamenon||State Scenic Byway||M-123 Tahquamenon Scenic Byway||EUPRPDC|
|US-2 Top of the Lake||State Scenic Byway||US-2 Top of the Lake Scenic Byway||EUPRPDC|
|US-23 Sunrise Coast||State Recreation Byway||US-23 Heritage Route||NEMCOG|
|I-69 Recreational||State Recreation Byway||Available upon request||SMPC|
|M-15 Pathway to Family Fun||State Recreation Byway||M-15 Pure Michigan Byway||EMCOG|
|M-35 Hidden Coast||State Recreation Byway||Available upon request||CUPPAD|
|Chief Noonday||State Recreation Byway||Available upon request||SMPC|
|M-134 North Huron||State Recreation Byway||M-134 North Huron Scenic Byway||EUPRPDC|
|US-31 West Michigan Pike||State Recreation Byway||Available upon request||WMSRDC|
|US-12 Heritage Trail||State Historic Byway||Available upon request||SWMPC|
|US-2 Iron County Heritage Trail||State Historic Byway||Available upon request||WUPPDR|
|I-94 Marshall's Territorial Road||State Historic Byway||SMPC|
|M-15 and M-25 Center Avenue/Bay City||State Historic Byway||EMCOG|
|M-125 Monroe Street||State Historic Byway||SEMCOG|