Where Scenic America Stands

Scenic America’s stance on major environmental policies affecting scenic conservation is based on positions adopted by our board of directors; guided by our Seven Principles of Scenic Conservation and Strategic Plan; along with the education, involvement, and expertise of our members and staff.

The Issues:

Air Quality
Scenic America supports programs and policies aimed at reducing haze and particulate matter pollution, which obscures scenic views of our national parks, historic sites, and other natural, scenic, cultural, and historic treasures.

Community Design and Corporate Responsibility for Place Making
Scenic America supports the efforts of local governments to protect their community distinctiveness by establishing design guidelines for historic, commercial, and residential districts. Scenic America encourages businesses to design buildings that reflect regional characteristics and use local materials in their construction, and supports efforts to adapt, restore, and reuse historic structures in lieu of demolition and new construction.

Context-Sensitive Highway Solutions (CSS)
Scenic America promotes context-sensitive highway solutions (CSS) for transportation planning. We work with federal, state, and local transportation departments to encourage the adoption of CSS for the purpose of constructing transportation systems that complement the scenic beauty and distinctive community character of the areas they serve.

Farm Policy
Scenic America recognizes the vital role of America’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters in protecting the nation’s environment and scenic beauty. Scenic America supports full funding of farmland conservation programs to accommodate the hundreds of thousands of landowners who want to keep their land productive and beautiful.

Historic Preservation
Scenic America supports strong federal, state, and local historic preservation policies and legislation, including ordinances that prohibit outdoor advertising in historic districts, mitigate the visual impact of telecommunications facilities and utilities, and establish strict design guidelines for new structures in designated districts.

Protecting Public Lands
Scenic America supports improving federal and state laws and policies that protect the incredible scenic resources of our public lands.

Protecting Tribal Lands
Scenic America recognizes that many of America’s most scenic places are also sacred to Native Americans. Scenic America supports protecting the visual quality of these sacred places as well as the scenic beauty and distinctive community character of all tribal lands.

Reforming the Highway Beautification Act
Scenic America works to reform the Highway Beautification Act (HBA) to better meet the original goal of protecting roadside beauty. Thirty-six years of neglect, billboard-industry-sponsored amendments, and insufficient funding have transformed what was originally hailed as the harbinger of a new conservation movement into a legal and regulatory failure.

Scenic Byways
Scenic America supports reauthorization of the National Scenic Byways program as structured in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) and state programs modeled after this legislation. Scenic America believes that scenic byways, properly planned and managed, can help protect some of America’s most scenic places and contribute to strong, environmentally sound economies. Scenic America opposes segmenting scenic byways for the purpose of billboard construction and other incompatible land uses not planned for in the byway’s corridor management plan. Scenic America also opposes efforts to restrict or eliminate the federal scenic byways program merit-based grant awards through the earmarking of byway funding for specific states or byways.

Scenic Rivers and Trails
Scenic America supports expansion of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers program, the National Historic Trails program, and the National Scenic Trails program. Scenic America urges activists to include scenic conservation planning principles in local trail and river management plans to ensure consistent protection of vital scenic resources.

Smart Growth
Scenic America supports federal, state, and local measures to foster new development that respects the special character of places; to rebuild older cities, towns, and suburbs as beautiful places in which to live and work; and to conserve agricultural land and open space. Scenic America urges state and local governments to incorporate aesthetic guidelines into their smart growth policies and performance standards.

State and Local Billboard Control Efforts
Scenic America supports state and local governments in preserving and enhancing the overall scenic environment through billboard and sign control. Despite limits on billboard control imposed by the federal Highway Beautification Act and some federal court decisions, states and municipalities still have a great deal of power to protect their natural beauty and distinctive character from billboard blight.

Surface Transportation Policy
Scenic America supports those surface transportation policy proposals that would protect clean air, parks and wildlife habitat and historic and scenic places. We encourage members of Congress to ensure transportation policy will include provisions for context-sensitive highway design, local decision-making, long range planning, fiscally constrained budgeting and environmental stewardship.

Transportation Enhancements
Scenic America supports the reauthorization of the Transportation Enhancements Program as authorized under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) to provide continued funding for projects that protect and enhance scenic beauty and community character. Scenic America opposes any efforts to eliminate or restrict the use of transportation enhancements funding for the purchase and removal of outdoor advertising.

Sustained Funding for Conservation
Scenic America supports full funding of federal, state, and local conservation programs, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), the Urban Parks and Recreation Recovery program (UPARR), and the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) without diminishing funding for other environmental grant programs.

Takings Legislation
Scenic America recognizes that private property rights are fundamental to our American system of government and recognizing that, in general, laws and regulations that protect and preserve the environment and our communities contribute to the public good and to the value of private property for the greatest number of people. Scenic America supports our fundamentally fair and sensible current system of adjudicating takings claims on a case-by-case basis as to the severity of the diminution in value and the appropriateness of the government action is fundamentally fair and sensible. Scenic America opposes any legislative attempts to establish a mechanistic approach to takings or just compensation determinations or to immediately require the adjudication of alleged takings claims in federal court.

Telecommunications Towers
Scenic America supports federal legislation giving communities greater power to regulate telecommunications facilities. Scenic America encourages state and local governments to protect scenic viewsheds and vistas, historic districts, residential neighborhoods, and ridgelines from inappropriate telecommunications facility siting through strong regulatory legislation and siting policies.

Vegetation Control for Improved Billboard Visibility
Scenic America opposes so-called “vegetation control” programs, which permit billboard operators to clear-cut publicly owned trees on public land to improve the visibility of billboards on private land; and we support strong state and federal measures to prohibit this practice.