On July 2, the National Trust for Historic Preservation added Route 66 to its National Treasures portfolio and announced plans to pursue national historic trail designation for Route 66 as one of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.” This follows a June 5 action in the House of Representatives to pass H.R. 801, the Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act. Co-sponsored by Representative Darin LaHood (R-IL-18) and Representative Grace Napolitano (D-CA-32), this Act would permanently designate Route 66 as a national historic trail to be administered by the National Park Service. The bill has since been referred to the Senate and submitted to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

From July 2 to August 3, the National Trust will host a caravan across Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles to raise awareness about national historic trails and what designation would mean for Route 66. With support from State Farm®, Airstream, Polaroid and Two Lanes by Mike Wolfe, the trip will highlight the people, places, and stories that make the route an icon of the American landscape. The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership, a collaborative organization with representatives from state-level Route 66 associations, state directors of tourism, and state and private historic preservation agencies, will also be participating by providing educational materials on the national historic trails. To follow the caravan, click HERE. National Geographic is following the caravan HERE

The National Park Service’s National Trails Intermountain Region administers the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Congress authorized the program in 1999 for ten years, and reauthorized it for another ten years in 2009. The program seeks to preserve the special places and stories of the historic highway and collaborates with private, nonprofit, and government partners. For more information about the program, click HERE.