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Apr 13

Intrinsic Qualities, part 2

Posted on April 13, 2021 at 1:05 PM by Allison Duncan

Part 1 of our examination of intrinsic qualities focused on archaeological and historic resources.  One commonality to these two areas is that they both document the ways that human activities have changes the landscape. 

This post will focus on the Natural and Scenic Qualities of the Byway. Natural and Scenic Qualities may describe man-made changes, but they also may focus on the abundance of visual features in an undisturbed state along the Byway. 

166 view

Sometimes scenic features are the result of a deliberate attempt by humans to mimic the natural environment.  An example of this is a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs from Georgia to Virginia.  The Parkway is a unit of the National Park Service, and traces its roots to the days when motoring as a pastime was taking hold of America. It was designed by landscape architect Stanley Abbott to include vistas and scenery that exposed a view of rural Appalachian life.  As necessary trees and shrubs were planted to cover vast areas of cut and fill where the road was carved out of the sides of mountains.  Cabins, barns and agricultural buildings were relocated to maximize the view for the motorist, and all of the elements were tied together by a series of Master Land Use Maps.

166 barn

The proposed South Douglas Scenic Byway presents the same opportunities. Much of the Highway 166 corridor runs parallel to the Chattahoochee River.  This has been one of the primary east-west corridors for many years and it offers glimpses of an undulating natural terrain as the topography slopes off toward the river. The area is generally wooded, with areas of pasture, rural homesites and other scenic vistas that break through the forested areas. 

Smith Ferry Road

Some of the most noteworthy interruptions to the wooded canopy occur at the location where the road crosses the water reservoir at the Dog River and in the community centers of Fairplay and McWhorter. These communities include more institutional uses, such as schools and churches, and limited commercial activities. 

The proposed route of they Byway does include new residential development where project entrance monuments for residential subdivisions welcome residents of the area to their homes.  The Byway is not intended to preclude development.  Rather, the Corridor Management Plan developed with this project will document all of those elements that make the Byway a special location and ensure that new development is compatible with the existing landscape.