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Morton Proposes Scenic Byway for Route 30 in Schoharie Co.

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/12/24 | 4/12/24

By David Avitabile

MIDDLEBURGH - If you are lucky enough to live in Schoharie County or visit here, you know how beautiful the landscape is all year around.

Bill Morton of Middleburgh wants to advertise that beauty with others and promote the region by establishing a Scenic Byway.

Mr. Morton has made presentations to several town board, including Esperance, Gilboa, and Fulton, and spoke to members of the Middleburgh town board in March.

His dream is to have Route 30 from Esperance south through Schoharie, Middleburgh, Blenheim, and Gilboa to the Delaware County line. 

There are 26 scenic byways in the state, Mr. Morton said, including sections of Routes 20 and 23A, which travel east to west. Scenic byways already exist nearby areas such as Ulster, Delaware, and Green counties. The Route 30 scenic byway would extend south form Route 30S in Fultonville in the Mohawk Valley, through Schoharie County.

Mr. Morton told town board members that there was some initial skepticism among local leaders concerning scenic byways in their area but after they were established, most were very happy with the results. The local leaders had been worried about loss of control, but found that there were increase in property values and other positives, with no downsides, Mr. Morton said.

A scenic byway designation would have no restrictions for property owners or municipalities, Mr. Morton added. Only three signs, at intersections, would be needed.

The next step, Mr. Morton told board members, is a corridor management plan. The plan would require sections on the region including the scenery, recreation, history, culture, archeology, and natural resources, which would include the Schoharie County Eagle Trail. Mr. Morton has begun the plan and presented one to the town board. The geology sections should be done very soon, he added.

He encouraged town board members to participate in the planning process. A section on local goals in the plan is also required.

Before the state Department of Transportation can approve the byway and begin to administrate it, the local governments have to "sign off" on the byway, Mr. Morton said.

To be approved, the byway needs to be approved by the DOT, state legislature, and then the governor, according to Mr. Morton.

If approved, Mr. Morton said an interactive map to include businesses, restaurants, and gas stations.

Councilman Wes Laraway suggested that Mr. Morton to to the county's historical committee and and make a presentation.

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