Heritage Routes (Pure Michigan Byways)
The Michigan Heritage Route Program, created by the Public Act 69 of 1993, is designed to identify, inventory, protect, enhance, and in some cases, promote state trunklines and adjacent land with distinctive or unique scenic, cultural, or historic qualities. The normal process for Heritage Route nomination within the Michigan Heritage Route Program follows a standard eight-step procedure: formation of a nominating team, identification of potential routes, evaluation of the highway using a roadside inventory, selection of route to be nominated, preparation of a management plan, evidence of local support, preparation of nomination/application, and submission of application.
There are three categories of Heritage Routes, each linked below with detailed listings for each route, including the limits of the Route, its length, notes and related links:
- Scenic Heritage Routes - a state highway having outstanding natural beauty;
- Historic Heritage Routes - a state highway having outstanding historic buildings, and resources along its length; and
- Recreational Heritage Routes - maintained not only to serve the recreational driver, but also to capture that recreational setting of the facility or area itself, and set the mood for the recreational experience. (Source: MDOT.)
Pure Michigan Byways
On December 17, 2014, the Michigan State Senate passed House Bill 5072 to change the name from
Heritage Route to Pure Michigan Byway. According to an MDOT report, "This action is part of a rebranding and reinventing of the program to align it with statewide travel and tourism initiatives." The House Bill, sponsored by Rep. Peter Pettalia, amended Public Act 69 of 1993 and removes references to Michigan Heritage Routes and replaces them with references to "Pure Michigan Byways", requires MDOT to designate all Michigan Heritage Routes as Pure Michigan Byways within one year after the bill's effective date, and allows MDOT to designate portions of a road as a Pure Michigan Byway. The Governor signed the bill into law on December 30, 2014.
The existing Heritage Route markers posted along each route will be replaced with new markers developed in cooperation with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, MDOT, and the various Byway committees. The new markers will incorporate the "Pure Michigan" campaign logo and the word "Byway," which is used nationwide in 45 other state programs. The new legistlation also adds three new "intrinsic qualities" (categories) to the program—Cultural, Archaeological, and Natural—to augment the existing Scenic, Historic and Recreational categories. The additional categories will allow for more flexibility with the types of routes which can be accepted into the program.
The transition from Heritage Routes to the new Pure Michigan Byways is scheduled to occur during 2015 with new signs posted in the field. Until that happens, however, the existing Heritage Routes will be listed on this site under their original categories.
List of Michigan Heritage Routes (Pure Michigan Byways)
- Heritage Routes – information from the Michigan Department of Transportation.
- Analysis of House Bill 5072 (Pure Michigan Byways) – as passed by the Michigan House of Representatives.
- Letter from MDOT Director Kirk Steudle to Gov. Rick Snyder – from December 22, 2014 comprising the annual report on the Heritage Route (Pure Michigan Byways) program, noting the recent changes and renaming.
- Iconic state highways could get Pure Michigan name change – article from the November 15, 2014 Petoskey News.