January 27, 2021

White Pole Road towns optimistic about potential impact of Scenic Byways passports

Promotion runs until Dec. 31, includes drawings and other incentives

Visitors to locations in Adair County along the White Pole Road Scenic Byway will now have another incentive for visiting those communities as the Iowa Tourism Office rolled out a new Scenic Byways Passport program last week.

The program gives travelers opportunity to download a free digital passport. They can use that passport to get help discovering beauty of Iowa’s scenic byways and unique attractions, shops and restaurants along them, a press release said.

Monthly drawings and other deals will be involved for those who check in at locations along the scenic byways through the program.

The White Pole Road, which now travels through the area communities of Adair, Casey, Menlo, Stuart and Dexter and is characterized by white paint on its power poles lining the road’s ditches, was birthed out of a desire to give motorists a much better way to travel across the state, well before the interstate system came through in the late 1950s.

Tom Smull, Executive Director of the White Pole Road Economic Development Corporation (WPREDC), said that the five communities along the White Pole Road Scenic Byway are excited for this new program. He said that the communities often try to play off of the fact that it is easy to get off of Interstate 80 and pay them a visit. Their closer proximity to the Des Moines metro is also a factor they try to build from in promotions.

“We’re growing our attraction base along the White Pole Road. It will continue to grow, we’ll continue to get more businesses,” Smull said. “Once we get through this pandemic we think there will be a pepped up tourism demand. Hopefully the timing of this going into summer will be really great for this promotion and the White Pole Road.”

Smull also said that the WPREDC is currently going through a Corridor Management Plan that every scenic byway is required to work through. Their officials have been paired with those from the Covered Bridges Byway in nearby Madison County as they develop that plan.

“When we originally applied to be a scenic byway, some of the judges told me that the history of the White Pole Road and how it’s so directly tied to transportation is unique,” Smull said. “Some of the other areas, like northeast Iowa, have really neat scenery. What we have is an interesting story of life and all the activity going on along the White Pole Road.”

This promotional package will run through Dec. 31. Travelers may sign up for the passport at explore.traveliowa.com/byways with their email address or by scanning a QR code from posters at locations included on the passport.

“Transportation is essential to connecting people with all the wonderful things Iowa has to offer,” said Scott Marler, director of the Iowa Department of Transportation. “Our state’s scenic byways system helps travelers recognize both main roadways and roads less traveled that highlight the uniqueness of our great state.”

Two other scenic byways are near to Adair County, including the Western Skies Scenic Byway, a portion of which ends in Stuart on P28, and the Covered Bridges Scenic Byway, a portion of which starts on Highway 92 at the Madison County line east of Stanzel.

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.