Scenic Roads

Designating a State Scenic Road

Evaluation Criteria

This section explains how the report will be evaluated by the Parkways, Historic and Scenic Roads Advisory Committee. A summary is offered here to familiarize the applicant with the evaluation criteria and process. To become familiar with the complete scoring, please review the complete Evaluation Criteria.

Parkway Proposal Evaluations

Parkway evaluations are based on meeting the criteria for a scenic road or historic road, access and corridor protective restrictions, interagency agreement and certain economic factors. Its designation allows for the development of appropriate facilities such as visitor centers, rest areas, trails, etc., so that the resource may be enjoyed at a more intimate, leisurely level.

Not all scenic and historic roads qualify for parkway designation and applicants should not feel that this is the ultimate goal of the process. Other benefits are obtained from careful consideration of a particular roadway under these criteria. The proposal for the parkway shall be evaluated by the use of these criteria:

  • Meet the one-mile minimum distance between access roads as established by ARS 41-514.
  • Meet the established criteria for either a scenic road or historic road.
  • Have appropriate space obtainable for interpretive area with parking and visitor facilities.
  • Provide controlled access and development of adjacent property rights obtained by the State Transportation Board or other governments.

Note: These definitive criteria will not be rated on a scale as are the historic and scenic criteria.

Historic Road Proposal Evaluations

Historic evaluations are based on documented criteria as confirmed by the Arizona Historical Society and the Arizona Historical Advisory Committee. Factors critical to the historical designation include the impact of the route on cultural heritage, impact on the area, proximity to the historical area and uniqueness.

The route must have a significant historic contribution or impact to the state or at least to a region of the state.

To obtain the numerical combination of the four factors, please use the Historic Road Evaluation Sheet.

  • Impact of the Route: Impact of the route relates to the estimated relative importance of the historical route or place to the cultural heritage within the national, state, regional or local framework, which are judged to be of equal significance. This factor includes consideration of the historical impact on the development of Arizona's heritage in such fields as transportation, commerce, architecture, history, archaeology, mining, agriculture and culture.
  • Impact of the Area: Impact of the area relates to the significance of the contribution of the historical place or road to the exploration, settlement or development of Arizona. The activities of exploration, settlement or development may be considered collectively or individually. This factor should include consideration of the historical impact of exploration, settlement and/or development of the American Indian, Hispanic/Mexican and United States civilizations. It will also include consideration of the historic impact on political/governmental, sociocultural and technological/economic development at all political subdivision levels.
  • Proximity: Proximity of the proposed historical route to the historical place or road shall consider both physical and/or visual access.
  • Uniqueness: Uniqueness of the historical place or road refers to the relative scarcity or abundance of a given type of historic resource.
Scenic Road Proposal Evaulations

Scenic evaluations are based on the level of the overall visual quality rating developed on the visual quality summary sheet, and not just landscape components. Attributes critical to the visual quality are vividness, intactness and unity.

The information provided by the Visual Quality Summary Sheet includes the overall visual quality of each landscape assessment unit and the average visual quality of the entire road segment.

Many factors contribute to the visual quality of a landscape. For purposes of evaluation generally, these factors can be grouped under the attributes of vividness, intactness and unity.

  • Vividness: Vividness is the memorability of the visual impression received from the contrasting landscape elements as they combine to form a striking, distinctive visual pattern. The route is extremely vivid if unforgettable elements and patterns combine to form a unique visual impression.
  • Intactness: Intactness is the integrity of the visual order in the natural and human built landscape and the extent to which the landscape is free from visual encroachment.
  • Unity: Unity is the degree to which the visual aspects of the landscape elements join together to form a harmonious composite of visual patterns.