West Branch Susquehanna Byway celebrating its fifth year
November 1, 2017

Clearfield County’s West Branch Susquehanna Byway is celebrating its five-year milestone this year. The route was named Pennsylvania’s 19th scenic byway in 2012.

The scenic meandering way, made up of 11 routes, comprises 72 miles of roadway stretching just over the Clearfield County line from its start at Cherry Tree, Indiana County, and ending at Karthaus.

The majority of it follows the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, although there is a loop to Bilger’s Rocks through Grampian Borough and Penn and Bloom townships, and a leg that extends through Huston Township traveling through an area known for elk sightings.

 
 

Other municipalities the byway passes through are Burnside Borough and Burnside Township, Bell Township, Mahaffey Borough, Greenwood Township, Lumber City Borough, Pike Township, Curwensville Borough, Lawrence Township, Clearfield Borough, Boggs Township, Goshen Township, Bradford Township, Girard Township and Covington Township.

About half of the more than 50 state-designated historical markers in Clearfield County are located along the West Branch Susquehanna Byway, giving travelers numerous facts about times, events and businesses gone by in Clearfield County.

Clearfield County Recreation and Tourism Authority Director Josiah Jones is working to get the word out to those who haven’t heard about the byway and remind residents who heard of it five years ago but haven’t given it a thought since that it still exists.

“I am finding that the byway is not well known,” Jones said. “We need to do more marketing and educate the community about what the byway is and what it can mean for the county.

“I also found tourists aren’t aware of Clearfield County’s byway because it is not included on Visit PA’s website. I want to make sure we get it out there,” Jones continued. “The West Branch Susquehanna Byway is an important asset to Clearfield County, and it seems not a lot of people know about it,” Jones said.

Jones said the route is very scenic, taking those who travel it through some visually inspiring areas.

“You can get to a lot of different destinations using the highway. It could be a great motorcycle route, a bicycling route and even a water route. We need to get more people on it so that they can see some of what Clearfield County has to offer.”

Jones said he has some plans for the byway that include updated signage, perhaps one that includes a brand specifically for it. He also plans to keep the road path a trending topic by posting items about it on Visit Clearfield County’s website.

Jones credited and thanked former directors Holly Komonczi and Sandy Fink Barrett for their work and the vision to see the byway project through.

In a recent interview, Barrett said there were several difficulties in getting the byways designation.

“One of the obstacles we faced as the new tourism promotion agency was pulling together our tourism product into something recognizable and enticing to out-of-area visitors,” Barrett said. “It’s one thing to say you are going to promote an area, but quite another to present a product that creates repeat visits to the area. The byway project enabled us to intertwine many assets throughout Clearfield County into a recognizable, marketable product,” she noted.

Byways are not just a “one and done” concept. It is actually a state Department of Transportation program and getting the Byway itself approved and designated is one small step.

A steering committee was formed of CCRTA members and included community partners.

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