It might be a hub of modern architecture and cultural heritage, but somehow, the United States seems to have forgotten to preserve an exceptional, historically important infrastructure in the nation. Route 66 is listed among 11 historic sites across America that are most likely to be lost due to lack of care, by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The lone road in the expansive California desert stretch is the first image that comes to mind when Route 66 is mentioned. The historic road runs through eight states and showcases some of the most culturally rich and visually appealing geographic sights in the United States.
The trail, which runs for almost 4,000 kilometers symbolizes, among other things, the country's love for open roads. While it is known as the open road surrounded by expansive land, lack of proper care has resulted in Route 66 existing only in fragments in certain parts of the states it runs through.
According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Route 66 holds global importance and it has the capability to draw "recognition and economic development" to the sites that fall along the road.
The trust also stated that saving the route is the responsibility of the government. Though the Congress has proposed the route to be recognized as a permanent National Historic Trail, it is necessary for the legislation containing the proposal to pass through the US Senate and, of course, be signed by US President Donald Trump for the title to become an official one.
Here's what Amy Webb, the senior director for the Denver office of the trust had to say.
It was really the first fully paved route across the country so it has some transportation firsts. The reason we decided this year to list the entire route is that, in addition to losing little parts of the historic interest here and there, is a very specific threat right now.
The best alternative would be to try to have it added as a National Historic Trail. That's designated by an act of Congress, so it's no small lift."
Route 66 is often featured in Hollywood movies, with its expansive nature and significance in US history elevating it to importance even in popular culture. From television shows and music, theme parks and artists, the scenic beauty of the heritage trail has inspired many forms of art and entertainment.
It is also often the first choice for anyone looking to go on a long road trip across the country. And this is not the first time that the road has been added to the annual list of endangered sites. The historic trail was also included in the 2012 listing.
Webb said that the motive behind including the route name in the list this year is that the National Park Services' Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program designation for the path is about to expire in 2019. Hence, it was of utmost importance to bring the administration's focus to Route 66 in the US.