|Chadwick Drive in Kingman carried traffic on the
National Old Trails Highway as well as Route
|Hualapai Mountain Park|
Arguably, Route 66 should be quite easy to market as that highway has an almost unimaginable international recognition. What hinders the marketing of the road which is crucial for preservation as well as development could simplistically be placed in two categories.
One, there is an almost complete lack of unity within the Route 66 community. During the roads heyday the U.S. Highway 66 Association linked businesses and communities in high profile promotions. In addition, this association served as an advocate for the entire corridor.
To date, during the highways renaissance that centralized type of support structure has been lacking. The long term goal of the National Park Service facilitated Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative is to rectify that problem.
Even though the project has been under development for almost two years, most of the work has been behind the scenes. With the forthcoming workshops and town hall meetings that will change in a rather dramatic manner. This is the link for the initiatives official website that contains a mission and goals statement as well as information pertaining to the public meetings.
|Hualapai Mountain Park trails.|
The second issue is that the current promotion of Route 66 is akin to preaching to the choir. There is a need to reach out to a new demographic and infuse them with a passion for this highway, as well as its unique culture and its infectious camaraderie that makes every stop and festival seem like a family reunion.
That is why I am so excited about Scott Piotrowski’s ongoing work to host a huge multifaceted 90th anniversary celebration of Route 66 at the highways original western terminus in Los Angeles next year. I can’t imagine a better place for introducing the allure of Route 66 to a new audience than in the middle of the nations largest metropolitan area.
There is another exciting endeavor currently under development and that is the work of Candacy Taylor. If you are unfamiliar with her projects I suggest beginning with this website.
In my neighborhood there are 160-Miles of Smiles awaiting discovery. That, however, is only part of the 2,000 plus miles of smiles that is an adventure on Route 66 from Grant Park in Chicago to the Last Stop Shop on Santa Monica Pier.