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Stay on the trail: signs and messages for trail users


One of the most important message for visitors in sensitive areas is "stay on the trail." A wide variety of signs are used by trail managers to remind hikers and riders not to stray off the trail. Some messages are just the facts, others make clear the reasons— harm to vegetation, erosion, or sensitive habitat. Interpretive information on wildlife and the environment will reinforce the importance of staying on the trail. Some signs are used in conjunction with fences and other barriers. As with any type of sign, too much clutter detracts from the trail experience. And no amount of signs will stop shortcutting where switchbacks are illogical and short routes appear more inviting. (Commentary and photos by Stuart Macdonald)

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