In 1994, the Michigan Legislature approved an update to the Natural Beauty Road Act (Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994). Under this Act, road commissions can designate County Local Roads having “unusual or outstanding natural beauty” as Natural Beauty Roads. In order to be designated, a petition must be filed by residents of the township in which the road is located, and a public hearing held within the township to discuss the proposed designation. All residents along the road must be notified and property owners representing more than 51 percent of the road frontage can prevent the road from being designated as a Natural Beauty Road.
The Road Commission has established minimum criteria for designating roads as Natural Beauty Roads and reviews any road so designated on a periodic basis to insure that such criteria is still being satisfied. Once designated, these roads are signed with a special Natural Beauty Road sign. While normal maintenance activities are performed, the Road Commission does carry out such activities in a more sensitive manner, acknowledging the natural beauty along the road. Currently, there are nine Natural Beauty Roads in Washtenaw County.