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December 16, 2021

Highway 247 May Get Scenic Designation

"The San Bernardino County Planning Commission voted Dec. 9 to support designation of State Route 247 as a scenic highway."

County backs push to make 247 a scenic highway

By Jené Estrada
Hi-Desert Star
Dec 15, 2021

MORONGO BASIN — Old Woman Springs Road got one step closer to being designated a state scenic highway, fulfilling the work of a grassroots movement started by local volunteers in 2009.

The San Bernardino County Planning Commission voted Dec. 9 to support designation of State Route 247 as a scenic highway.

The Scenic Highway 247 Committee, under the Homestead Valley Community Council, has been pushing for the designation since 2009. The commission’s approval will move the proposal to the county board of supervisors. From there it will go to the California Department of Transportation and then to the county board of supervisors for final approval.

Proponents say the highway, also known as Old Woman Springs Road, gives travelers a connection to the San Bernardino National Forest, tourist destinations in Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead, historic Route 66, Barstow’s tourist attractions, Calico Ghost Town and other destinations. It is also the most direct route between Joshua Tree National Park and Las Vegas.

Caltrans manages the State Scenic Highway Program; as part of the designation process the applicant must create a Corridor Protection Program and allow the public to comment on it. The planning commission meeting Thursday allowed the public to comment on the proposed Corridor Protection Program.

Designation would regulate grading to prevent erosion, minimize development and make development that does happen blend into the landscape.

Jim Harvey, president of the Homestead Valley Community Council, said the committee is seeking designation for four specific parts of the highway. Section one starts in Yucca Valley and goes past town limits. Section two encompasses three miles coming into Landers. Section three travels through Johnson Valley into Lucerne Valley and spans 15 miles. Section four encompasses 27 miles of north Lucerne Valley.

“The 247 traveler follows the trail of the early settlers, cowboys and miners on the only route along the San Bernardino Mountains,” Harvey said. “It is one of the least altered landscapes in the state.”

He detailed a rich history of early cowboys, settlers and miners traveling through 247. More information on the history of the road can be found at http://scenichighway247.com.

After a brief presentation the commissioners said that they supported the project and would recommend it.

“This is an outstanding project,” said Commissioner Thomas P. Haughey. “It’s a shame it’s taken 12 years to this point but hopefully we’ll have this scenic highway soon.”

Filed under California,Travel | permalink | December 16, 2021 at 07:57 AM

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