As you may know, Prairie Rivers of Iowa manages the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway, one of 11 byways in Iowa (a byway is a road specially designated by the United States or by the State of Iowa for its distinctive qualities).  Part of our work along the byway is telling the story of the people and places of the Lincoln Highway, by working to preserve its history, by promoting local businesses and events, and by working with communities and statewide organizations to recognize its unique character.  If you’ve seen us at a motor tour stop, presenting to a community group, or read a Lincoln Highway brochure, you’ve seen some of our work on the byway.

Lincoln Highway Marker with an Abraham Lincoln Medallion and red, white, and blue Lincoln Highway logo
A Lincoln Highway Marker in Story County. Photo © Tom Apgar, Apgar Studios.

Beginning this spring, we are launching a three-year initiative: creating a new Corridor Management Plan for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway.  A Corridor Management Plan, or CMP, is a document that both reveals the assets of the Lincoln Highway and creates a plan for preserving and strengthening them within the byway’s corridor, or nearby area.

These assets might include the historical features of the byway, including buildings, Lincoln Highway markers, or segments of roadway.  They also might include the significant natural and environmental areas around the roadway, businesses and attractions in byway towns, and community groups that support byway travelers and local residents.

Preserving and strengthening these assets might include developing new plans for interpreting key Lincoln Highway locations for travelers, building up our tools for connecting the Lincoln Highway with Iowa students and teachers, especially focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, planning to enhance the byway traveler’s experience statewide, identifying creative Lincoln Highway projects in communities, and more.

You’ll notice I’ve said “might” several times.  The key part about creating a CMP is that it is truly a community-based plan.  Later this year, we will be beginning a series of public conversations across the state with people like you, people who care about the Lincoln Highway and its communities.  Together, we’ll decide on the important assets for each segment of the Lincoln Highway and the strategies for strengthening those assets.  You can learn more about the CMP process on Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s website.

Since this is the beginning of a conversation, let’s start talking.  I invite you to sign up for our mailing list so you can learn about the latest CMP news and find out about meetings and presentations in your community.  Please also consider contacting me to discuss the CMP in more detail or to learn how you might get more involved, especially as a volunteer or community leader.  You can reach me at lincolncmp@prrcd.org or 515-216-4005.  Together, we can help build a Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway for the next 100 years!