Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee considers bilingual signage  | VailDaily.com

Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee considers bilingual signage 

A mule deer hops a fence in Eagle Ranch in November. Eagle Trails may see additional signage this year as the town's Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee discusses potential bilingual educational signage to encourage mindful use.
Ben Roof/For the Vail Daily

Eagle signage initiatives are budgeted for 2023 with the goal of broadening community understanding of neighboring wildlife as well as responsible recreation practices. The Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee is discussing what implementation of signage in both English and Spanish could look like. 

Spearheaded by the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance, the Hardscrabble Trails Coalition, Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee and the town of Eagle, a wildlife campaign project called “Respect the Wild” launched on Feb. 21

While the “Respect the Wild” campaign is a multi-year education outreach program that addresses major goals of Eagle’s Open Space and Trails Master Plan, such as wildlife and natural resource education, Eagle’s Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee also aims to extend understanding and accessibility with discussions of integrating more signage on trails. 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Eagle County’s population is 29.3% Hispanic. To better serve the Spanish speaking community of locals as well as encourage responsible trail use among broader populations, Eagle’s Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee staff is discussing the introduction of signage in both English and Spanish.

Eagle Open Space and Recreation Manager Brian Lieberman said the bilingual signage ranked highly among staff consideration as well as within the Eagle Open Space and Trails Master Plan. 

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Starting to get the ball rolling on the project, the floor is open to community coordination and input so that project leaders can determine how to move forward with this bilingual educational signage in the most relatable and effective manner. 

Lieberman explained that existing town signage is focused primarily on a regulatory approach. Meanwhile, the new “Have You Herd” campaign utilizes creative imagery to get the point across. He said this new signage initiative will also aim to be eye-catching and engaging.

“(The signage might) tell that story of why wildlife needs space and why we need to minimize disturbances to these animals during the winter for their survival and kind of provide that background,” Lieberman said. 

Already working with some input, Lieberman said age-specific signage may be one consideration of this project. So, lower-to-the-ground signage might be bright and picture-oriented to appeal to children, whereas higher-up signage may have more information presented in a manner that’s more engaging to adult trail users.  

Another consideration may be to implement the signage on spots along a trail that seem to be natural stopping, resting or gathering spots. 

“If you’re skiing the ski area, that always feels like there’s natural places that people tend to stop and wait for everybody on a ski slope,” Lieberman said. 

The same sort of spots also exists along trails, he explained, and if people are already stopping at certain areas, signage there may be better received than elsewhere along a trail. Additionally, potentially integrating benches or picnic tables to these areas would not only encourage people to stop and read the signs but may encourage more trail use among community members altogether to enjoy such gathering spaces.

As more discussions are held about thE project, the Eagle Open Space and Recreation Advisory Committee is welcoming community input to determine what might work best as well as what may be missing from the educational portfolio available to trail users. 

Community input may also assist project coordinators in determining how to straddle “the conundrum of how much we go with design versus how much we go with science and how do we attract that type of user,” Lieberman said. 

He said he hopes this project, in tandem with the “Respect the Wild” campaign, will be effective in educating trail users on responsible recreation practices. 

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