Travel Management Signs for Public Lands in Colorado

By Jack Placchi, Bureau of Land Management, Colorado State Office

Good signs clearly showing which uses are allowed are essential to effective trail management.

One critical need for trails is proper signs to let trail users know what activities are appropriate, as well as which trail they are on. New travel management signs have been developed by the multi-agency Colorado Natural Resource Group. The following descriptions provides direction on the installation and use of those signs.

Standard trail sign format

Trailhead Signage: All trailheads should have travel management signing regardless of the level of development at the trailhead. At a minimum, the user should see the name and number of the trail, with travel management information clearly displayed as a sign assembly. Sign colors will be brown on white. The font will be Gothic C, standard highway sign font, with lettering at least one-half inch high.

The trail name and trail number should read horizontally. The travel management should be displayed vertically. A destination is optional for the trail sign. Follow responsible agency's manual direction on proper wording, abbreviations, and placement of text for direction signs.

Placement of International Symbols: To show the travel modes allowed, use the words "Open To" and show the international symbols below. Display the modes of travel that are prohibited using the words "Closed to" with a red slash across the international symbol below. The eight international user symbols will be used in a consistent order. The size of symbols for trail usage is 3x3 inches for each symbol.

Agency Logos: The agency logo(s) may be placed at the bottom of the vertical travel management sign. It can be smaller than the 3x3 international symbol.

Placement of Travel Management Signs: Travel management signing need not be on every trail sign along the trail corridor. Travel management signs should be placed at the trailhead, and at trail junctions where travel management is changing, or needs reinforcement.

Travel restricted area sign

Standard Format: Use where a traveler crosses into a travel restricted area from an open area. This does not include

Wilderness areas: This sign is intended to alert the traveler that off-road travel is prohibited and there may be some additional restrictions on certain routes. The Trail sign and Road Use sign will be used to designate routes.

Symbols: Only the modes of travel that are restricted should be shown on this sign.

Allowable Alterations: The word "Designated" may be changed to "Established" while area management prescriptions are being changed from open to off-road travel to restricted to roads and trails. When the roads and trails that will be retained as the managed transportation system have been identified the word "Established" should be changed back to "Designated." This is intended to be an interim policy to allow for the orderly transition between "open to off-road" to "restricted to routes" policy.

Lettering: Minimum size of lettering will be one inch. Minimum lettering size for "TRAVEL RESTRICTED AREA" wording will be one half inch larger than all other lettering.

Standard Format: The "OPEN AREA" sign is used for specific areas with identifiable boundaries in which travel is allowed both on and off roads. An area identification is optional. If the area name is desired, it is to be placed at the top of the sign. The message "THIS AREA OPEN TO ALL TRAVEL ON AND OFF ROADS AND TRAILS USING" is to be placed below the name of the area and above the recreation symbols. Agency logos and/or names are to be placed below the recreation symbols. Sign should include agency identification so the public knows where questions and comments can be directed. In most cases this sign would be installed at all access points into a specified open area.

Road use signs

Standard Format: These signs are travel management signs and are not intended to replace road name or road number signs. Where there are travel restrictions, the road name and number may be included on these signs.

Road Use signs are used to inform the traveler of the modes of travel allowed on the route. The sign may contain several messages.

Options: There are 3 options for this sign. They are:

1. OPEN TO: is intended to show, using symbols, the modes of travel allowed on the road. Display all the symbols under the words "Open To."

2. CLOSED TO: is intended to show, using symbols the modes of travel that are not allowed on the road. This sign will show the modes of travel that are allowed on the road under the words "Open To" and the modes of travel that are prohibited with a symbol that has a red slash across is under the words "Closed To." The reason for the closure is optional.

3. SEASONAL CLOSURE with dates: This sign will show the modes of travel that are allowed on the road under the words "Open To" and the modes of travel that are restricted with a symbol that has a red slash across is under the words "Seasonal Closure" and the dates of the restricted travel shown below the symbols.

Road Identification: The road name is not required. If the road name is desired, it will be placed at the top of the sign along with the number.

Symbols: The minimum symbol size will be 3x3 inches.

ATV Usage: If the only change of use on the road is allowing ATVs the open to OHV sign can be used in place of the Road Use sign.

More articles in this category

OPPORTUNITIES FOR ACTION: A Synthesis from Roundtables in Support of the Bureau of Land Management’s Blueprint for 21st Century Outdoor Recreation

posted Nov 17, 2023

Implementation of the Blueprint will require a deepening of relationships, new partnerships, new capacity and ultimately, new resources for success. Put simply, the Bureau can’t achieve its vision alone.

The Bureau of Land Management’s Blueprint for 21st Century Outdoor Recreation

posted Nov 17, 2023

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is developing a “Blueprint for 21st Century Outdoor Recreation” (Blueprint) intended to guide investments, partnerships, outreach, and program development to respond to current demand and chart a course to meet future needs.

Public Lands and the Continental Divide Trail Study

posted Feb 14, 2023

The primary goal of this study was to understand who uses the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), how they use it, their preferences, and the economic impact of the CDT in the region. Additional data were also collected regarding protecting public lands and using the Continental Divide Trail in Colorado.

Improving Accessibility on Public Lands

posted Jul 8, 2022

Recommendations from American Trails

1,746 views • posted 05/30/2018