The Virginia Piedmont is one of America's most significant landscapes, encompassing centuries of historic sites located in scenic settings. The "spine" of this region is historic, scenic Routes 15 and 20, a corridor whose integrity is critical to the region. Highlighting sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground travel itinerary offers a taste of the wealth of historic buildings, landscapes, and communities along Route 15. The beauty and history of the Piedmont's landscape, which encourage recreation and tourism, enrich not only local quality of life but the local economy too.
While much of the Virginia Piedmont included in this itinerary is relatively pristine - for instance, along Routes 20 and 231 - other areas, most notably in portions of upper Loudoun County, are facing increasing urban growth. If a consensus is not reached on standards of development throughout the region, the Piedmont could be in jeopardy of losing the very qualities for which it is cherished: scenic beauty, historic towns, magnificent vistas, and rural character.
Over the past three years, Scenic America, working with the National Register of Historic Places, the Piedmont Environmental Council, the Conservation Fund, the Preservation Alliance of Virginia, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and other state and local groups, has sought to draw attention to the incomparable scenic and historic resources along Route 15. Yet this work has only just begun.
Preserving a Rural Economy While Encouraging "Smart Growth"
Hope for the Region's Future
Our best hope for preserving those qualities which make the Virginia Piedmont so special lies in raising public awareness of the historic value of the area, as this National Register itinerary does. Appreciation of the Virginia Piedmont's historic places supports sustainable development that ensures quality of life. Scenic America works to provide citizens with specific strategies and tools to promote sound development patterns and collaborates with area merchants, tourism officials, and others to protect the community character that supports the local economy. We hope you will join us in making this vision a reality.
This essay was contributed by Scenic America, a national nonprofit membership organization dedicated to protecting America's natural beauty and preserving communities' distinctive local character. The organization provides technical assistance across the nation on scenic byways, billboard control, context-sensitive road design, cell tower location, transportation policies, and other scenic conservation issues. They also promote scenic conservation by educating Congress and state legislatures and participating in site-specific projects in various states. In addition, the organization produces a full range of publications on preserving scenic beauty, open space, and quality of life that contribute to our environment and economy. For more information about Scenic America, please visit their web site or contact them directly at Scenic America, 801 Pennsylvania Ave., SE, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20003 202-543-6200