Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Achieves National Designation and Peat House Arrives at Red Barn
BROKEN BOW – The beauty of the Sandhills has gained national recognition via the Sandhills Journey National Scenic Drive (SJNSB) for its natural and cultural qualities. The national designation of the National Scenic Byway Foundation brings the total number of US roads to 184 in 48 states.
The public gathered at the SJNSB – AKA Red Barn – visitor centers on the east edge of Broken Bow on Friday, April 30 to celebrate the national designation with a ribbon cut.
The National Scenic Byway Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit serving as The national voice of scenic routes and routes, dedicated to strengthening Byway and actively involved in seeking renewed funding from Byway Federal. The vision of the National Scenic Byway Foundation is that the roads of our country will be recognized and appreciated around the world for their experiences, stories and treasured places.
Custer County Tourism Secretary Rick Maas told KCNI / KBBN that this step is long in coming and will benefit central Nebraska in terms of tourism and landscape conservation.
“It took a lot of work from a number of volunteers. Jim Varney here has helped a lot locally. Twila Phillips de Mullen, our road secretary, did a lot of work. I mean she got the gist of it and is to be commended and then several ladies and others were on the committee that worked on it, ”Maas said.
Volunteers attempted in 2000 to obtain a national designation, but this was unsuccessful. The dedicated residents of the sandhills persevered and now the Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway is one of two in Nebraska designated by America’s Byways. The other is the Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway.
“It’s supposed to be good for the economy, attract more tourists and just add to the dollars they leave behind when they travel, so that’s the hope,” Maas said.
In addition to the ribbon cutting, Terri Licking thanked the crowd for attending and recognized several volunteers, including Stan Sedlacek. A revolution has taken place to celebrate the start of a sod project that has been the subject of discussion for many years. Rick Maas said Custer County Tourism President Mike Evans had the initiative and enthusiasm to bring the sod project to fruition.
“This county is famous for being the turf capital of the world. So our county visitor center – even if it’s for the whole road – should have a turf to show off. So we’ll see what we can do! Maas said.
Peat houses – earthen structures symbolic of the early settlers of the Great Plains – varied in size and amount of mud bricks needed to build them. The turf for the red barn will be approximately 12 ‘by 16’ and construction will begin in late summer or early fall. Maas said the turf would not be tall or sleek, but would require a lot of volunteer work.
Nebraska Tourism Commissioner for the Sandhills District Sarah Sortum said tourism is coming back in 2021 to a large extent and appreciates “the people who contribute to it.” It’s luck for Nebraska tourism! “
Guests at Friday’s event enjoyed a lovely evening, drinks and snacks provided by local sponsors: Custer Economic Development Corporation, Broken Bow Chamber, SJNSB Visitor Center Committee, Grocery Kart of Broken Bow, Mileta Vista Winery of St. Paul, Kinkaider Brewing Co., Custer Co. Tourism and the Sandhills Journey National Scenic Byway organization.