Interpretive Signs and Displays Along Trails
Trails and greenways create an opportunity to teach visitors about history, the environment, and the community
Stuart Macdonald, Trail Consultant, American Trails
photo credit: Stuart Macdonald
Town history educational sign on the Shoreline Trail; the Colony, Texas
One of the attractions of trails is that they provide a close look at natural areas, neighborhoods, or wild places. This "sense of place" is what brings people back to a pathway. Many trails are specifically designed as "nature trails" to teach school groups and the public about a particular habitat or ecosystem. Others, such as the examples here, are just typical trails where managers have provided one or a few displays on local topics of interest. Many different kinds of signs are in use, from the basic plaque to large gazebo-style exhibits.
Classic vertical display board on the Lomaki Trail, which accesses Pueblo ruins sites in Wupatki National Monument in northeast Arizona
Interpretive signs on a short trail near Leadville, CO overlooking the Sawatch mountain range
Metal structure creates a substantial interpretive display along the Platte River Greenway, Denver, CO
Interpretive sign celebrating the explorers and fur traders who travelled along what is now the Platte River Greenway
Artistic interpretive sign along the Wissahickon Valley Trail, Philadelphia
Sign teaching about the Battle of Germantown along the Wissahickon Valley Trail, Philadelphia
Several historic bridges along the Schuylkill River Trail in Philadelphia are described in signage
Interpreting narrow-gauge railroad history at the Colorado Trail on Kenosha Pass
Prehistoric interpretation along Box Canyon Trail, Wupatki National Monument, northeast Arizona
Interpreting salmon habitat and estuary restoration along the Olympic Discovery Trail, Washington
Another example of environmental education focused on the topic of Nature and community balance along The Colony Shoreline Trail, TX
Sign at Elk Meadow Park west of Denver tells visitors about the role their sales tax pays in preserving Jefferson County Open Space
The natural history of fire is the topic in Big Cypress Trail in Goethe State Forest, central Florida
The big bay is the topic of signs along San Diego's Harborside Trail
Environmental education trailhead sign focuses on the topic of nature and community balance on the Shoreline Trail; the Colony, Texas
Plaque set into brick pavers along the Schuykill River Greenway, Philadelphia
Published September 2019
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