Sunday, September 03, 2006

Finding the way

I'm helping to bring signage to the trails at Carvin's Cove. Long overdue. Over the years I've pointed many a wary mountain biker in the right direction after they've lost their way at one of the Cove's many look-alike intersections.

Some background for those reading from afar: The Carvins Cove Natural Reserve is located just outside of the City of Roanoke in SW Virginia. A kindey-shaped man-made reservoir provides water for the city. The land around the lake is great for outdoor adventures. The "Cove" has about 35-40 miles of trails and fire roads open for mountain biking. Most riders new to riding here start off on the Happy Valley fire road that leads from a large gravel parking lot at one end of the reservoir to a boat dock eight miles away on the opposite end. Someday we may be able to loop all the way around the entire reservoir, but for now it's only out-and-back. Several singletrack trails jut off from and loop back to Happy Valley. The lack of signage at these trail intersections make it pretty hard to determine what direction to go to get back towhere you started. If you're not a local and want to check out a map, look here. Some good signage would be a huge help.

My quandry is this: What makes a good trail sign? The first picture of this post is some existing signage at the Cove (actually, the only signage), the second is at Douthat State Park. The following is a mock-up of what might be good at the Cove.

So I need some help.

First, does this mock-up cover all of our bases? My thought is that signs like the one above would work for only one part of a "T" intersection. Another sign would be needed to point folks in the right direction if they were going the opposite way. Anyway, in terms of the appearance, would this work?

Second, if you live and ride in the Roanoke area and want to help out with the signage project, please post a comment to this post or send me an email at or follow the "Sign up for trailwork" link on the right hand side of this here blog. We're still in the early stages, but we'll need help with making the signs as well as putting them up at the Cove. I'm sure we'll be organizing a couple of work days this fall to begin this task. Later gators.


Brian B said...

Warren, It is looking like a plan. Looking at the Douthat sign, I can't believe they rank Stony Run a black diamond. Does that make Salt Stump 4 black diamonds! And Blue Suck 10 black diamonds :)

I think on your sign example it looks like happy hollow and School house are the same way. I think maybe leave the ranking off the so many miles to whatever trail lines. Maybe you will need to use up and down arrows too based on where the sign is installed. Looks like a great start. Maybe we can put two or more signs on one post but facing different ways.
You know you can count me in on all phases of the help as needed.

Jen said...

Hey Warren!!!

I'll be glad to help out with this project. I've begun working on a map of trails at the cove which I can download to my GPS so if you think that might be helpful, I can try to share that information as well. What do you think of the way Peaksview has their signage?