Just in time for summer road trips, San Bernardino County has designated a portion of Route 66 from Victorville to the Arizona state line an official “scenic highway."
What does that mean? The desert area surrounding the highway will get some added protection. The designation will also influence the size of future development projects and their compatibility with the natural landscape.
"This route is a big tourism draw for this county," says San Bernardino County supervisor Bran Mitzelfeldt.
Mitzelfeldt sought the Route 66 designation partly because of the large number of solar farms proposed for his Mojave Desert district. He says he and his colleagues should have acted sooner.
"At that time, we didn’t have this [spectrum] of all these solar projects bearing down on this route," he explains. "And I think if we aren’t careful on how we approve these projects then we can lose the tourism and the historic and cultural aspects of this road we all celebrate and appreciate.”
The action extends Route 66’s “scenic” designation from just north of Victorville all the way to the Arizona border.
It rolls out just ahead of Victorville’s International Route 66 Festival, a celebration of the highway’s hot rod history in August. Officials in that city say it’s always felt a little left out for not being included in the famous tune.