The Star Valley Chamber of Commerce received word from Wyoming Department of Transporation on Monday that a proposal to create a Scenic Byway will be moving forward. “I wanted to let you know that the Scenic Byway Advisory Committee (SBAC) met via teleconference on Oct. 9, to review and discuss the nomination you submitted for the Star Valley Scenic Byway,” Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) Systems Planning spokesman Talbot J. Hauffe reported in a e-mail letter. “I am most pleased to inform you that the Wyoming Scenic Byway Advisory Committee has voted unanimously in favor of designating US 89 through Lincoln County, Wyoming as a Wyoming State Scenic Byway.”
He continued, “Congratulations! The Committee was very impressed with the nomination package that your group submitted.”
Hauffe included a copy of the committee’s comments on the Star Valley proposal for the chamber to review.
“Several commented on the quality of your presentation-especially since you folks have never done one of these before. Well done!” Hauffe said.
The Byways will be sending a group to Star Valley in the springs to tour the byway prior to a final review by the Wyoming Transporation Commission. The designated byway includes US 89 from the Montpelier junction south of Star Valley to the Teton County Line in the Snake River Canyon.
Hauffe advised, “the hard part is over with.” He said Transporation Commission generally moves forward with an SBAC recommendation.
The planning director included all of the comments from the advisory committee and concluded, “Again, congratulations on a job well done. Yours was one of the best first draft nominations to ever have been submitted.”
• SBAC comments on chamber proposal
A summary of the comments offered by the SBAC included:
• “Good identification and descriptions of the intrinsic qualities in the region.”
• “Yes, it appears that there is a strong support network with private landowners and the museum staffs, along with several letters of support.”
• “One excellent strength is that they propose to market it with the Oregon Trail Byway in Eastern Wyoming.”
• “Really liked that they will represent the byway at the annual Sportsmen Expos in Denver and Salt Lake City and market the byway and local businesses to FAM tours. Both are excellent ways to get the word out about your Byway.”
• “Quite probably the best first submission of a Nomination we’ve ever had. These folks did a great job.”
Chamber response and plans
For the Star Valley Chamber of Commerce, SBAC approval is an important development for a project that has been detailed and time consuming for the volunteer group.
“The committee’s approval is a step forward in helping attract more visitors to Lincoln County,” Merridee Matson, chairman for the Star Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors said Monday night. “Once the final stamp is placed on the nomination, we will be listed on every byways map and website. It will have such a positive effect on local businesses and on travel and tourism in our area.”
Matson commended everyone for their work on the byway project. “The nomination process was a collaborative effort,” she emphasized. “The chamber’s plan was endorsed by the Lincoln County commissioners, the mayors and councils, many organizations and businesses, individuals and landowners.”
Matson specifically noted the work of the byway committee in Star Valley. “Jenny Baker has been an awesome project leader, and her team of community members performed so well together. It is refreshing to see such an accomplishment result from teamwork.”
The chamber chairman advised that in the coming months a specific marketing plan will be developed. “Within the next six months, we will need to form a permanent Byway Marketing Committee, and I anticipate that this group will work closely with the overall branding and marketing plans for Star Valley and Lincoln County,” Matson concluded.