Scenic America’s History

Originally called the Coalition to Preserve Scenic Beauty, Scenic America was founded in 1982 by a group of individuals concerned about the state of America’s visual character, particularly that of our country’s roadsides, and the diminishing effectiveness of the Highway Beautification Act. It was officially renamed to Scenic America in 1989.

We are the only national nonprofit whose sole purpose is to safeguard the scenic qualities of America’s roadways, countryside, and communities. Based in Washington, DC, Scenic America currently has 50 state and local affiliates, and more than 40,000 members and supporters around the country. We work to foster citizen engagement in scenic conservation issues by advocating for policies that encourage scenic beauty at the local, state, and national levels by providing research, and educational and technical assistance, and by assisting in the formation of affiliate organizations. Our accomplishments include supporting the establishment of the National Scenic Byways Program, ensuring that the federal government and states uphold provisions of the Highway Beautification Act, helping to stop new billboard construction in more than 1,000 communities nationwide, and helping to gain dedicated funding to the National Scenic Byways Program for the first time since 2012. We also conduct research supporting the protection of the country’s scenic environment, and we work to educate tomorrow’s leaders about the importance of scenic values.

Learn more about our work here.

Learn more about Lady Bird Johnson, who inspired our work here.

View a list of our past presidents and board chairs here.

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