ORO GRANDE In an effort to draw attention to the High Desert's claim to the legendary Route 66, San Bernardino County is moving forward with a new historical sign marker program.


Friday marked the 85th anniversary of the storied thoroughfare, and 1st District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt used the occasion to unveil the first sign marker at a dedication ceremony on National Trails Highway in Oro Grande, just north of the Mojave River Bridge.


"Marking County Route 66 is one of several steps I am planning to celebrate, promote and protect this road and to make county highways more user-friendly," Mitzelfelt said in a statement.


More than 250 miles of the iconic highway runs the length of San Bernardino County from Needles through Upland. More signs will be placed at various intervals along the route, starting with heading north of Oro Grande onto Main Street in Barstow.


The sign program will then head east on Interstate 40, north on Nebo Street near Barstow, east on National Trails Highway and north on Goffs Road to its junction with Highway 95.


Cultural and historic sites along this alignment include the city of Barstow and the communities of Daggett, Newberry Springs, Ludlow, Amboy, Cadiz, Chambless, Essex and Goffs, as well as the Mojave National Preserve.


This alignment can be expanded to include additional portions of or the entire Route 66 at a later date. The remainder of the signs on this first leg will be installed by the end of December.


Mitzelfelt is contributing $45,000 for the program through some of the last of his office's discretionary funds, with that pot of money no longer unavailable to supervisors.


Mitzelfelt said he initiated the marker program after seeing its effectiveness in other counties.


The county's Route Marker Program is the first to be added in the state since 1983, according to Mitzelfelt's office.


The California County Route Marker Program was established in 1958 to mark county routes of major importance and public interest that are constructed and marked to sufficient safety standards.


San Bernardino County is the 43rd of California's 58 counties to participate in the program.