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GreatRiverRoad.svg
The Great River Road in Wisconsin, with Minnesota in the distance on the other side of the Mississippi River.
The distinctive route marker that is displayed along the entire 10 state routing of the Great River Road.
The Great River Road in Illinois 1 mi (1.6 km) downstream of Grafton, about 37 river miles (59 km) upstream of St. Louis.

The Great River Road is a collection of state, provincial, federal, and local roads which follow the course of the Mississippi River through ten states of the United States and two Canadian provinces. They are Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Manitoba, and Ontario.

Although in a literal sense it is just a series of roads, the Great River Road is also a larger region inside the US and in each state. It is not a road in the sense of a local, state or national highway but the term is instead used for tourism and historic purposes. Some states have designated or identified regions of state interest along the road and use the roads to encompass those regions.[1][2] The road travels through or near many natural and urban areas.

Divided into three main sections, the road consists of the Great River Road, the National Scenic Byway Route, and the Canadian Extensions. The eponymous segment runs on both sides of the river from Louisiana through the state borders of Kentucky/Illinois and Missouri/Iowa, excepting the full length of the road in Arkansas. A five-state section of the road has been designated a National Scenic Byway, running through Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The Canadian Extensions begin in Lake Itasca and Bemidji, Minnesota and branch out to Winnipeg, Manitoba and Minaki and Dryden, Ontario.

Developed in 1938, the road has a separate commission in each state and province. These in turn cooperate through the Mississippi River Parkway Commission (MRPC). The 2,340 miles (3,765 km) are designated with a green-and-white sign showing a river steamboat inside a pilotwheel with the name of the state or province. The over-all logo reads "Canada to Gulf" where the local name would be, and most MRPC publications denote the route as beginning in Ontario and ending in Louisiana.

Contents

Routing

See Routing of the Great River Road.

The Great River Road is not a single road as its name might suggest. It is more accurately described as a designated route, the whole of which is comprised of connected segements of other named and numbered highways and routes, each maintained by local jurisdictions.

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Ontario

Ontario also has a designated tourist route named the "Great River Road". It starts in Kenora and travels along Highway 17/Trans-Canada Highway to Highway 71, where it heads south, staying close to Lake of the Woods. Upon meeting Highway 11 in Barwick, the designation branches off into two directions: a spur heads west along Highway 11 to Rainy River, while the main route travels east along Highway 11 to Fort Frances.

It continues until it approaches Secondary Highway 502, travelling back up towards Dryden, and looping back west along Highway 17 to Kenora.

Some Rand McNally atlases of Canada and the United States also posted the Great River Road icon along Highway 17 on their maps, as it followed the Ottawa River.

Manitoba

Some road maps (Rand McNally's road atlas in particular) also show the Great River Road routed through Manitoba, as far north as Lake Winnipeg. However, it is unclear if the road is signed in that province.

Bibliography

  • "Discover America's Great River Road" by Pat Middleton, ISBN 0-9620823-8-4, Great River Publishing 1996
  • "Life on the Mississippi: For the ultimate cross-country driving trip, travel down the Great River Road" by Paul Lukas, Money Magazine June 1, 2002
  • "The Great River Road runs through 10 states -- and countless tales" by Zeke Wigglesworth, Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service July 10, 1995

See also

References

  1. ^ http://www.mnmississippiriver.com/page2.htm
  2. ^ Visitor's Guide to the Middle Mississippi River Valley, Great River Road

External links


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