2015 NRPA Conference

On the heels of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Convention and in celebration of the association’s 50th anniversary, we’re revisiting a topic that lies at the heart of park systems large and small: trail marking.




Trail markers and signage are a uniquely important to parks. Unlike getting around a city, smartphone apps like Google Maps can’t help us navigate winding park paths. Most visitors still rely on physical trail markers to find their way.



But just like other public infrastructures, many parks are in need of a healthy dose of modernization, especially when it comes to trail markers and signage.



Whether years of exposure has left your markers worse for wear or you simply want to improve upon an existing marking and trail signage system, here are 5 tools and tips to help you create a better experience for visitors:

1: Combine decals with Carsonite posts to save money



Carsonite posts are among the most durable posts available today. When paired with equally robust decals and signage, you can build an extremely low-maintenance trail marking system designed to resist the elements as well as vandalism and other common issues.

2: Choose UV-resistant products

Even if your markers aren’t regularly threatened by harsh conditions, just about every outdoor marker or sign is exposed to hours of sunlight every day. Over time, these harmful UV rays can cause significant fading, making markers and signs difficult to read, especially after dark.



Carsonite decals and signs are manufactured from quality UV-resistant materials which protect just as much against the sun as it does tough weather and vandalism.



3: Make sure your decals and signs are reflective

Reflective markers and signs are obviously more visible, but especially for park systems with older signage, this can be a common oversight that makes a huge difference to park go-ers.



Reflective markers are especially useful in low-lit conditions at dusk or nighttime as well as in areas where mature foliage might obscure markers from sight.


4: Use anchor barbs to prevent vandalism and help protect posts in problematic soil


Carsonite offers a specialized Anchor Barb for more permanent placement in problematic soil conditions. These barbs can easily be attached to the bottom of any Carsonite posts, collapsing during installation and expanding during an attempted removal––an effective deterrent against vandals and thieves.  



To make things even easier, these anchors can come factory installed with an order of Carsonite posts or sold separately for field application.


5: Use federal universal symbols when possible


The federal park signage system was created to make park experiences consistent from one place to another. These symbols are easily recognizable to park visitors and make it easy to order replacements as needed.


Click here to browse Berntsen’s selection of Trail Posts, Signs and Decals or click here to request a catalog.