One of my freelance jobs is writing interpretive and informational signs for natural and cultural historical sites. We went to a lovely location that could use some instructional clarification:
(and epsecially a little extra proofreading).
No dogs allowed, with three exceptions: one of them is "on leash within the state park" (wherever that is).
BUT, look at this!
Cool. The perfect length for our mixed-age group, and bikes and dogs are allowed on the trail. Also we’d be okay on taking the extra trail to the ocean with our dogs, although not if we’d had bikes.
Then we got to the trail head.
Which is the Dune Forest Loop Trail? There are three loop trails, none identified as the one we want. And what’s with the NO DOGS sign? What does it apply to? It looks like it includes the beach trail that we thought was open to us. Bikes are allowed on the loop trail only, whichever loop trail that is. The directional arrows are ambiguous. None of these hikes is 2.9 miles, which would be the trail we’re looking for; "our" trail’s code from the other sign is red. There is what looks like it used to be a bit of red coding by the south parking lot trail (with an arrow pointing straight ahead).
We place our bets on trying to correlate the map on the first sign (located back in the parking lot, with the specific instructions about who can go where) with what we think is the lay of the land. We go right from the way-obscuring "wayfinder" above.
Following the completion of the hike and return to the parking lot and the original signage, I think we guessed right. One of our hiking companions for that day is a lawyer and did offer to defend us if we got in trouble because it was clear that intelligible information was lacking.
We had no interest in taking our dogs where they weren’t appropriate. We kept them on leash, and to the best of our knowledge we didn’t scare any wildlife or leave any evidence of our passage, other than footprints.
But I think the multiple entities governing this area need to hire someone to put together new interpretive and wayfinding signage.