printer friendly page Scenic Roads

Barber Road.  Photo by Bet ZimmermanThe town of Woodstock has an Ordinance Concerning the Designation of Scenic Roads, which became effective in 1986.Section 2 says that the Planning Commission can only designate roads as scenic if they are free of intensive commercial development and intensive vehicular traffic, and meet at least one of the following criteria. They are:

  • unpaved; bordered by mature trees or stone walls;
  • traveled portion is not more than 20 feet in width;
  • offer scenic views; blend naturally into the surrounding terrain;
  • or parallel or cross over brooks, streams, lakes, or ponds.

Nothing prohibits an owner of land abutting the road from doing things on their own land (in accordance with any other applicable town regulations), as long as it is not on the right-of-way of the road. However, Section 4 states that roads Stone wall on Pole Bridge Rd.  Photo by Bet Zimmermandesignated as scenic under the Ordinance cannot be altered or improved (e.g., widening [beyond 20 feet] the right of way or the traveled portion of the road, paving, changes of grade, removal of stone bridges, straightening, removal of stone walls, and removal of mature trees), except for good cause. An example of good cause for removing a mature tree would be that it presents a threat to the public because it is dead or dying or has been damaged by a storm The town does have to maintain the roads in good repair.

Before the Planning Commission would approve an alteration or improvement of scenic road, they must schedule a public hearing.The Selectman, Highway Supervisors, and owners with frontage on the scenic road are notified of the public hearing.

In order to designate a road as scenic under the Ordinance, the people who live on the road have to agree that they want this designation. Then a form has to be completed and filed with the Planning Commission, after which it will go to a public hearing. After the public hearing, the Planning Commission either votes for or against it.

Currently, the following roads are designated as scenic in Woodstock, including 15 improved gravel and paved scenic roads for a total of 9.83 miles:

Road Name Year Designated Distance (miles) Type
Barber Road 1986 0.52 improved gravel
Bradford Corner Road 2006 1.03 paved
Bull Hill Road 1999 0.54 improved gravel
Camp Road 1986 1.10 improved gravel
Center Cemetary Road 1988 0.96 improved gravel
Corbin Road 1987 0.08 improved gravel
Dividend Road 1986 0.69 improved gravel
Marcy Road 1986 0.69 improved gravel
Phelps Road 2000 0.61 nimproved gravel
Pulpit Rock Road 1986 1.39 + 0.23 improved gravel + improved
Quarry Road 1991 1.49 improved gravel
Route 169     National Scenic Byway
Roxbury Road 2006 0.49 improved gravel
Sherman Road (dirt section) 1989 0.55 improved gravel
Smith Road 1988 0.72 improved gravel

More Information and References:

Conservation Commission
I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me,
to look back on the distance I have come.

- Nelson Mandela