Rt. 23 ‘scenic byway' designation officially recognized at ceremony

A ceremony was held last Wednesday, Oct. 30, to recognize the scenic byway designation the state gave Rt. 23 recently. Photo by Matthew D'Ippolito
A ceremony was held last Wednesday, Oct. 30, to recognize the scenic byway designation the state gave Rt. 23 recently. Photo by Matthew D'Ippolito

A ceremony was held Oct. 30 at Poole Forge to recognize the designation of Rt. 23 in East Earl and Caernarvon townships in Lancaster County as a scenic byway.

The designation, given by the state, makes Rt. 23 Pennsylvania’s 21st scenic byway. Officials at the ceremony remarked on the beautiful views of farmland and rural space along the span of highway, running from the Windmill Restaurant in Morgantown to its intersection with Rt. 322 in Blue Ball.

They also stressed the importance of this project in the effort to preserve the Tri County area’s open space as the region continues to grow, and the need to continue that effort.

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“I have a preserved farm myself and I want to keep it that way for my family, and for generations to come,” East Earl Emergency Coordinator Bill Shirk said after the ceremony. He added that friends of his from outside the area enjoy seeing the view along the highway.

Caernarvon Township Supervisor Gary Van Dyke noted that the agricultural space in the area is very valuable as a foodshed for nearby cities and high population density areas, as well.

“It’s essential for this community to support Lancaster County, and the state and nation, in having efficient, reliable production of food,” he said.

Van Dyke was one of five speakers at the ceremony. Dawn Ekdahl, the scenic byway committee chairperson, was master of ceremonies for the event. Other speakers included State Rep. Gordon Denlinger, Pa. Deputy Secretary of Transportation Scott Christie and Scott Standish, the director of long range and heritage planning for Lancaster County.

Despite the overcast skies, a crowd of about 50 people were present. A quilt that included images of the covered bridge the ceremony was held in front of covered a “Pennsylvania Byway” sign. After the officials spoke, Ekdahl unveiled the sign to applause.

“Clearly this corridor meets the test of being a true scenic byway,” Denlinger, a Morgantown native, said. “We hear that from folks who come to visit our area from far and wide. And preserving this is so very important, not only for the current generation, but for future generations to come.

“So today’s celebration, I think, is an indication that this community takes the responsibility of preservation seriously, and that this resource will be in place long into the future.”