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Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway Corridor Management Plan
Background
The Waters of the Dancing Sky is Minnesota’s northernmost Scenic Byway and is named for the Northern Lights that can often be seen dancing in the sky. The route traverses 191 miles along Minnesota Trunk Highway 11 through lakes, the legendary Rainy River, forests, farmland, and several cities and small towns. The byway runs from the Red River at the North Dakota border to Voyageurs National park at the eastern end of the route. It was dedicated as a state scenic byway in 1998 and byway designation was extended to the North Dakota border in 2002.

Visitors to the byway can experience the history, scenery, wildlife of the area, as well as participate in the many recreation-related activities of this northern byway.
A Corridor Management Plan (CMP) is a document that identifies the unique attributes of a scenic byway (called intrinsic qualities), the byway community’s goals and vision for how the byway will look and function, how the intrinsic qualities will be protected and marketed, and specific actions to achieve the vision and goals. The process of developing a CMP is as important as the completed document itself, as it can bring together the key stakeholders and form partnerships that will make the byway successful.

Planning Process
The Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway committee is working with three Regional Development Commissions (Arrowhead, Headwaters, and Northwest RDCs) to develop a Corridor Management Plan to help guide the byway’s management for the next 5 to 10 years. The planning process is being funded through a grant from the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byway Program.

An initial step was to form a steering committee to guide the process. That committee was established with representatives from various communities along the 191 mile length of the byway. The committee held its first meeting in January of 2013, and has met periodically throughout the year. Steps included establishing a byway vision and goals, identifying intrinsic qualities, identifying interpretive opportunities and telling the byway story, determining marketing approaches, conducting public involvement in the plan, and assigning responsibility for implementing the various aspects of the plan.

A final Corridor Management Plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

For more information about the Waters of the Dancing Sky Scenic Byway visit the website: http://watersofthedancingsky.org/index.html

Meetings
Open House presentations were held in late 2012 in Ranier, Baudette, and Roseau for public stakeholders to review the corridor management planning process, review the draft document, and the implementation checklist. There were not any significant changes requested or concerns with the process that was followed. The CMP awaits final approval by the Byway Council.

Kickoff Meeting 1-14-2013

Kittson County Meeting 2-22-2013

Roseau County Meeting 3-5-2013

Koochiching County Meeting 3-14-2013

Lake of the Woods County Meeting 3-27-2013

Other meetings and phone call discussions throughout this process took place.

Documents
Draft Implementation Checklist

Draft Corridor Management Plan

Existing Byway Map

Draft Byway Map

Contact
Jon Mason
Associate Planner

Arrowhead Regional Development Commission
221 West First St Duluth, MN 55802
phone: 218-529-7513
Email: Jon Mason (jmason@ardc.org)

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