Our view: Missouri and the U.S. should kick up their support for Route 66 as its centennial approaches | joplinglobe.com

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

Route 66 has become a major tourism draw, especially for international travelers who like to take the ultimate American road trip. These and other travelers help keep alive a number of local businesses. That’s why the highway is also known as America’s Main Street.

Traffic is sure to increase now that international as well as national travel is back, after two summers of pandemic postponement. We also are approaching, in 2026, the centennial of Route 66, and we urge all our area communities to think big for that anniversary.

We urge Congress to think big too.

There are also proposals to make Route 66 part of the National Trails System, overseen by the National Park Service. We have always favored that, given the highway’s 2,400 miles of cultural, historic and economic impact, but we don’t think that goes far enough. There should be a Route 66 National Park, a linear park to fit historian and author Michael Wallis’ characterization of Route 66 as a “linear village.”

Each state could get a visitor center to tell a different part of the story. Oklahoma could focus could on Route 66 as the “Mother Road,” the route of “refugees from dust and shrinking land, from the thunder of tractors and shrinking ownership,” as John Steinbeck wrote.

What story would Missouri tell? Because two of our cities get mentioned in the famous song, St. Louis and Joplin, we could tell the story of Route 66 as the great adventure, the lure of the open road, the highway of optimism, the highway where songwriter Bobby Troup got his kicks.

Route 66 is national story and deserves National Park Status to preserve and interpret it for future generations.

MoBikeFed comment: Most Missourians do not know that Bicycle Route 66 is currently the state's second most popular cross-state bicycle route, after the Katy Trail. You can see that clearly on the Strava cycling heatmap for Missouri:


For more about Bicycle Route 66 in Missouri, including downloadable route maps:


Join MoBikeFed's Advocacy Network

MoBikeFed is a statewide group of people like you, working together for better bicycling, walking, and trails in Missouri. When you join our advocacy network you receive occasional important advocacy alerts and bicycle, pedestrian, and trails news from around Missouri.

Working together we make a real difference! Join our advocacy network: