Wayfinding signs are simply any kind of sign that gives direction to those reading it. These signs exist not only for trails but in many everyday spaces such as city streets, retail establishments, and hospitals. The purpose of wayfinding signs is to help people be easily oriented to new spaces, find their destination with minimum stress and without getting lost, locate points of interest such as restrooms, and discover information in an easy to digest way.
When planning a new trail or park project wayfinding signs should be part of the planning process. However, it is never too late to put in wayfinding signage. Listen to your trail users. If an issue continually comes up that could be helped with an easy to understand sign, that would be an ideal place for a wayfinding sign.
If users often express getting lost or confused at a certain area of the trail, this would be a great place to put up a wayfinding sign. If there are historic or culturally significant areas along a trail, such as a pioneer cemetery or bird watching lookout, wayfinding signs can help users easily find these areas without carrying cumbersome maps or trail guides.
Keep in mind amenities you would like to point trail users towards. If new amenities are added, such as new restrooms or picnic areas, these can be added to wayfinding signs. Local businesses are often aided by wayfinding signs pointing out amenities they provide, such as food, bike repair, or lodging. Some trail organizations are able to work with businesses to create signs and secure funding through this mutually beneficial arrangement.
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