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5 Park Signs That Celebrate the Great Outdoors

Park and Recreation Signs: Plaque, monuments, wildlife ID signs and more.




WHILE THE SHOW PARKS & Recreation may be fiction, the people who take care of our parks are very real, and their work deserves standout signage that identifies parks and trails, as well as welcomes and educates visitors.

This kind of signage isn’t just great for the natural resources department, though, as signmakers enjoy it too. “Projects such as this allow more creative freedom to produce signage that is more aesthetically pleasing, as opposed to the usual prints on aluminum sign panels that many government projects specify,” says Michael Johnson, Henry Graphics Inc. (Buford, GA).

Work the System

Over the years, Fastsigns of Toledo and Maumee (Toledo, OH) has created a variety of signage for Outdoor Sylvania parks, but the large-scale, complete park system was a first. Owner Karrie Brock says her company created the monument signs using 1/8-in. aluminum sheeting, kerf-cut extrusion kits from SignComp, 3D acrylic in-house-routed letters, 3M IJ180 vinyl and 3M cast laminate. Stained cedar posts and custom foam faux rock bases finished them off. They created directional signs using the same cedar posts and MaxMetal with 3M vinyl and cast laminate.

Look for the Red Roof

Myke Baugh, owner of Roughrider Signs & Designs (Jamestown, ND), has been expanding trail projects throughout North and South Dakota for seven years, solving the need for trailhead identification, rest stop and information at points of interest by creating red-roofed trail kiosks as easily identifiable markers. The kiosks are made from treated 6 x 6-ft. lumber (with steel, powder-coated plates and dovetail notching for strength) and topped with tin roofing for rain and shade.


Take a Hike

The Vermont trail community is a tight-knit one, both for the people using them and for the shops tasked with creating their signage. Nichole Loati, Great Big Graphics (Morrisville, VT), was hired to create 65 wayfinding and interpretive signs for the Peter A. Krusch Nature Preserve after having completed similar projects for the Vermont Rail Trail system. The signs were printed using Arlon DPF 6100XLP film with cast laminate on a 54-in. Roland TrueVIS VG2. Backers were mainly made from .080-gauge aluminum sign blanks or 3mm. Omega-Bond Premium aluminum composite panels.

Wood You Look at That

Sure, park signage can be basic but Jeff Thomas, Crossroad Sign Studio (Lynnwood, WA) says, why bother? To make more than two dozen signs stand out for the Bothell Parks System, Crossroad took provided designs and amped them up, supervising the sand-carving of cedar planks by a partner, then taking them back to the shop to laminate, rout and stain multiple times before handpainting, also applying community or fraternal aluminum composite seals to some. Each sign was installed on site using custom, powder-coated aluminum posts created by another local partner.

Wheels of Steel

According to Archetype (Minneapolis) Vice President Gary Stemler, the Dakota County parks signage may not have stood straight if it weren’t for the prototype they created. The roll-formed steel frames originally detailed by design firm TEN x TEN (Minneapolis) were found to have a wavy leg during Archetype’s early work on the project. Once that was ironed out, the frames were built and surrounded by thermally modified ash and black locust woods for the columns, while laser-etched graphics were attached to wood panels. Problem solved.

Visitor Welcome

What’s not to love about a visitor center sign? For the one at Amicalola Falls State Park, Henry Graphics’ (Buford, GA) Michael Johnson says his team built the sign panel from a 2-in.-deep cabinet fabricated from a 1-3/4-in. aluminum channel with .125-in. aluminum faces. The laser-cut, 1/4-in. acrylic letters were then affixed flush to the face of the sign panel with ORAFOL ORABOND 1397PP high-bond tape. The support structure was constructed from smooth-sawn cedar, then assembled with countersunk lengths of threaded rod installed on two boulders using square steel tubing welded to steel base plates, then mounted to the boulders with bolts embedded in drill holes.

📷 Fastsigns | Roughrider Signs & Designs | Great Big Graphics | Crossroad Sign Studio | Archetype | Henry Graphics




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