It is the dawn of a new year and, possibly, a new era on Route 66. Please, let me explain what I envision and then, perhaps, together we can unleash the Phoenix from the glowing embers that is the resurgent interest in America’s most famous highway.
With the exception of Mr. Knudesn’s National Historic Route 66 Federation, the various organizations and publications created in the past two decades to promote and preserve Route 66 have met with limited degrees of success. The reasons for this are as varied as the landscapes through which this highway passes.
Some were initiated with good intentions but lacked the resources to make the vision a reality. Others were blatant, self serving attempts to profit from the resurgent interest in the highway and as a result stifled honest efforts to create a unified, linear Route 66 community that mirrored the one created by the U.S. Highway 66 Association launched in February of 1927.
Now, more than ever, the Route 66 community needs that unified voice, an organization that stitches together the wide array of individual and state association efforts into a cohesive element. So, here is a summary of what I propose. Please, feel free to provide your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions.
1) This organization would not supplant or intrude into the affairs of existent state associations, city promotional efforts, or organizations such as the National Historic Route 66 Federation. Instead, it would serve to coordinate efforts between these various entities.
2) This organization would consist of an eight member board, one representative from each state, and a director. Preferably the state representative would be appointed by the Route 66 association in each state.
3) As examples of how this organization would benefit the Route 66 community, and serve as unifying element –
a) maintain a list of speakers, authors, and artists to expedite the organizational efforts of city or state associations to create events –
b) in a manner similar to that of Tripadvisor, allow travelers to provide reviews of dining and lodging establishments, as well as museums, attractions, and events. Complaints would be forwarded directly to the owners or managers of properties and their response would also be published –
c) the organization could serve as the information clearing house for film crews, tour companies etc. seeking information about the highway, planing a trip on the highway, looking for site specific information, contact information, etc. –
d) assist organizations in the promotion of events through press releases, the publication of articles written about the event for appropriate publications, etc. –
4) The organization could create a much needed electronic archive of historic photographs, post cards, maps, etc.
5) The organization could assist in the design of programs for dissemination through schools and universities. In addition, it could provide contact information for speakers to present these programs.
6) The organization could provide key distributors of information, such as Route 66 News, with press releases for events, updates on artists and authors, reports with accompanying photographs and other pertinent information.
7) Funding for the organization, including a salary or travel reimbursement for board members and the director, would be derived through membership dues, and state tourism monies.
8) As incentive for businesses to join, the association would publish a yearly directory of member businesses with an overall rating derived from traveler reviews. These businesses would be asked to provide organization members a 10% discount on services which would serve as individual incentive for membership.
Okay, thoughts, ideas, suggestions?

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