Hikers and runners who use trails at Oak Mountain State Park south of Birmingham have a new tool to help guide their outdoor fun. They’re trail signs, but they’re more than simple markers.
These signs are like nutritional labels for the trails. They contain information such as grade, elevation changes, the width of the pathway and surface hardness. They’re part of a project led by the Lakeshore Foundation. Spokeswoman Amy Rauworth says the idea is to increase trail accessibility and get away from subjective descriptions like easy or hard.
“What might be easy for me, might be hard for someone else,” says Rauworth. Instead, the signs give trail users information they can use to determine whether a particular trail matches their abilities. That’s especially important for those who use a wheelchair or have limited mobility.
Rauworth says there are 40 of these signs covering five trails at Oak Mountain. Lakeshore is in the process of training people to use the mapping equipment it takes to produce these detailed signs, with the goal of mapping other trails around the state.
The $48,000 dollar project is supported by Lakeshore along with grants from the federal government and the Munson Foundation, a group that’s given to environmental causes.