Creating Better Signage for a Better Trail Experience

October 24, 2017
Peter Dolan
New York-New Jersey Trail Conference


Creating Better Signage for a Better Trail Experience
Trailhead kiosk signs at Worthington State Forest.


New signage has been developed for New Jersey state parks and forests to help improve your trail experience.

We’ve all seen them before— trailhead kiosks filled with waterlogged pages of info, sun-faded trail maps, inconsistent content, or no content at all. So it’s with great pleasure that the Trail Conference can announce that, in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, our staff and volunteers have developed a new set of signage for installation in most of the New Jersey state parks and forests where we maintain trails. These include popular destinations such as Mount Tammany in Worthington State Forest and Stairway to Heaven in Wawayanda State Park, as well as less-traveled areas that lacked trailhead signage entirely, such as parts of Norvin Green State Forest.

The final design is a set of panels that fit together like dominos. These signs allow each park to show a large, full-contour trail map, interactive map download link, description of the park’s history and features, information on preparing for a hike, bear protocol, and info on how to become a trail volunteer. The signs are printed on PVC plastic in weatherproof, full-color ink—the same material used for lawn signs—which makes replacing damaged or outdated signs easy and cost effective. This project was made possible through funding from a New Jersey Recreational Trails Program grant.

These signs represent a huge success for the Trail Conference. For nearly 100 years, we have maintained trails on public land with relatively little publicity. Hikers could spend years in their favorite parks and, if they didn’t bump into one of our trail maintainers, might never know how much volunteer work goes into keeping these areas safe and open. By putting this signage at trailheads, we not only ensure that hikers have access to legible maps and info when they need it, but also help spread the word that we’re seeking volunteers to keep up the good work. As trails see increased use (and the erosion that comes with it), these new kiosk displays will help us reach more potential volunteers. 

When you find our new kiosks on your New Jersey adventures, snap a photo and tag us with #nynjtc on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for a chance to be featured on our feed.

Kiosk Builders Needed

Along with our park partners, we’ve identified a few locations in need of new kiosks—and we’re looking for volunteers to help build them. Building kiosks is a great service project—it’s a popular one among Eagle Scout candidates—so if you know anyone interested in this kind of work, please contact Peter Dolan at [email protected].