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The Design and Placement of Warning Signs on Improved Public Lands

Legal definitions and standards for signs that limit public liability for trail-related hazards while warning users in a clear and consistent manner.
Download full document (pdf 280 kb) with example signs and text of "HAWAII ADMINISTRATIVE RULES TITLE 13 - DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES - SUBTITLE 1 CHAPTER 8 - THE DESIGN AND PLACEMENT OF WARNING PUBLIC LANDS"

From State of Hawaii Na Ala Hele Trail and Access Program, November 2006

Photo: rocky trail crossing stream

Example of a warning sign for trails on Hawaiian public lands

This report is prepared in response to Section 4 of Act 82, Session Laws of Hawaii (SLH) 2003. Act 82, SLH 2003, established a risk assessment working group comprised of both state and county officials and a person knowledgeable in signs, and that a report be submitted with recommendations and consultation provided to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (Board), including a list of warning signs, devices, and systems on improved and unimproved public lands subsequently approved or disapproved by the Board, to the Legislature.

Background Information

  • The members of the Risk Assessment Working Group (RAWG) reviewed ocean safety signs established through Act 190, SLH 1996, as well the most current warning sign standards from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Using the current ANSI guidelines, RAWG designed safety signs to address the following priority natural hazards: flash floods, falling rocks, hazardous cliffs, submerged hazards as well as ancillary uniform management signs (end of trail, end of road, area closed).
  • In 2004, five public informational meetings were conducted statewide to solicit input on the proposed design of the signs. Comments were received and a few specific aspects related to sign design were revised accordingly.
  • In 2004, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) completed the first draft of the proposed Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR) for the Design and Placement of Warning Signs on Improved Public Lands mandated by Act 82, SLH 2003.
  • In February of 2005, the proposed HAR were approved by the Board to proceed with pubic hearings.
  • In May 2005, the Governor approved the proposed HAR for public hearings and DLNR’s Chairperson’s designee for the RAWG conducted a public hearing on August 23, 2005. Oral and written comments were received from the public and the proposed HAR were revised accordingly - there were no substantitive changes recommended.
  • On November 18, 2005, the Board approved the staff’s revision based upon comments and the recommendation to approve the proposed HAR.
  • On January 6, 2006, the draft HAR were approved as to form by the Department of the Attorney General.
  • On January 23, 2006 the Governor approved the HAR and it was filed on January 25, 2006 (see attachment 2)

Following the design and placement standards as delineated in the approved HAR, DLNR’s Division of State Parks and Na Ala Hele Trail and Access Program staff reevaluated and clarified locations of public exposure to dangerous natural conditions and revised maps showing these locations. DLNR staff worked with data collected earlier through an agreement with a United States Forest Service team. 134 locations statewide were identified that warrant the placement of signs relating to the various natural conditions.

The maps and locations are being prepared for review and approval by the Board. Upon approval, a request for proposal will be initiated, signs will be produced and DLNR staff will proceed with installation and a sign monitoring program. Currently, the Counties have not identified parks where these types of dangerous conditions exist.

Download full document (pdf 280 kb) with example signs and text of "HAWAII ADMINISTRATIVE RULES TITLE 13 - DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES - SUBTITLE 1 CHAPTER 8 - THE DESIGN AND PLACEMENT OF WARNING PUBLIC LANDS"

Also see Hawaii Trail Analysis Survey & Risk Management Data Profile: download complete document (95 pages, illustrations, tables; pdf format 4.0 mb)

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