Great River Road

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Coordinates: 41°41′31″N 90°21′16″W / 41.69204°N 90.354424°W / 41.69204; -90.354424

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.


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