Michigan Highways: Since 1997.

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Pure Michigan Byways (Heritage Routes)

Pure Michigan Byway route marker Pure Michigan Byways are specially-designated and signed state trunkline routes with special significance. The Michigan Heritage Route Program—the original name for the Pure Michigan Byways, was created by the Public Act 69 of 1993 and 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 route nomination within the Pure Michigan Byways 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.

Pure Michigan Byway routes are designated under six different "intrinsic qualities" (categories)— the three original Heritage Route categories and three new ones—each linked below with detailed listings for each route, including the limits of the Byway, its length, notes and related links:

2014–16: Heritage Routes become Pure Michigan Byways

Michigan Heritage Route markersOn 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 incorporate the "Pure Michigan" campaign logo and the word "Byway," which is used nationwide in 45 other state programs. In addition, just prior to the Pure Michigan Byways legislation, MDOT also introduced three new "intrinsic qualities" (categories) to the program—Cultural, Archaeological, and Natural—to augment the existing Scenic, Historic and Recreational categories. The additional categories were added to 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 in the field began in October 2015 with the designation of the first new route under the "Byways" banner: M-134 in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Existing Heritage Routes are scheduled to receive new signage starting in 2016. Until an existing Heritage Route is verified as having its new Pure Michigan Byways signs posted, they will be listed on this site under their original categories. Newly-signed or newly-designated Byways, however, will be listed under the appropriate Byway category.

Jump to: Scenic Routes | Historic Routes | Recreational Routes

List of Pure Michigan Byways & Michigan Heritage Routes

Pure Michigan Byway -or- Heritage Route Route(s) Date County(ies)
Pure Michigan Byways Route MarkerScenic Heritage Route MarkerScenic Byways & Heritage Routes:
Copper Country Trail Scenic Heritage Route & National Byway US-41 1995 Houghton, Keweenaw
Leelanau Scenic Heritage Route M-22, M-109, M-204 2002 Leelanau
M-119 Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route M-119 2003 Emmet
M-22 Benzie Manistee Pure Michigan Byway New! M-22 2016 Manistee, Benzie
Old Mission Peninsula Scenic Heritage Route M-37 2008 Grand Traverse
Tahquamenon Scenic Byway M-123 2007 Chippewa, Luce
Top-of-the-Lake Pure Michigan BywayNew! US-2 2017 Mackinac, Schoolcraft
Pure Michigan Byways Route MarkerHistoric Heritage Route MarkerHistoric Byways & Heritage Routes:
Center Avenue Heritage Route/Bay City Historic Route M-25 1997 Bay
Iron County Heritage Trail US-2 1999 Iron
Marshall's Territorial Road Historic Heritage Route BL I-94 2001 Calhoun
Monroe Street Heritage Route M-125 1995 Monroe
US-12 Heritage Trail US-12 2004 Berrien, Cass, St Joseph, Branch, Hillsdale, Lenawee, Washtenaw, Wayne
West Michigan Pike Byway New! I-94, BL I-94, M-63, I-196/US-31, BL I-196, US-31, US-10 2016 Berrien, Van Buren, Allegan, Ottawa, Muskegon, Oceana, Mason
Pure Michigan Byways route markerRecreational Heritage Route MarkerRecreational Byways & Heritage Routes:
Chief Noonday Recreational Heritage Route M-179 1998 Allegan, Barry
Huron Shores Recreational Heritage Route US-23 2004 Arenac, Iosco, Alcona, Alpena, Presque Isle, Cheboygan
I-69 Recreational Heritage Route I-69 2004 Branch, Calhoun
North Huron Byway New! M-134 2015 Mackinac, Chippewa
Pathway to Family Fun Recreational Heritage Route M-15 1998 Oakland, Genesee
U.P. Hidden Coast Recreational Heritage Route US-41, M-35, US-2/US-41 2007 Menominee, Delta
Woodward Avenue Recreational Heritage Route M-1, BL I-75,
BUS US-24
1999 Wayne, Oakland

 

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