In an effort to make the trail system more user friendly for the wide variety of users at Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, the park is formulating a new system of trailhead and trail markings. This new system will consist of both graphic symbols and color coded blazes to indicate the types of use authorized for a particular trail. The absence of a symbol will mean that a particular use is not permitted on that trail.
Symbols of all uses allowed on that particular trail will be mounted on wooden posts and placed at the beginning of trails and at all trail junctions. The primary trail use symbol will be displayed on the top of the sign with other trail uses displayed underneath. The symbols will represent a horse, hiker, mountain biker, multiple-use trail and a wagon wheel for the trails accessible to horse drawn wagons.
In addition to the graphic symbol, the trail use will also be reinforced with a color code for the primary use authorized for that particular trail. Colors selected for the various uses are red for horse and wagon trails, green for foot trails, blue for biking trails and orange for multiple-use trails. The existing symbols for the John Muir Trail and Sheltowee Trace trails will continue to be used. Additionally the existing signs indicating trail names and mileages will also continue to be used.
Where different uses overlap on the same trail they may receive both colored blazes for those user groups. An example of this would be the section of the Oscar Blevins Farm Loop (a hiking trail) and the Collier Ridge Bike Loop. These two trails share two common segments. In that instance the portion common to both uses will receive both blazes.
The trailhead signing and trail blazing is being funded by monies generated through the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program. This program which has now been made permanent by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act of 2004, collects user fees for specific recreational activities such as backcountry camping permits, camping in the park's developed campgrounds, use of the Bandy Creek swimming pool, and the hunting of wild hogs. The monies are then made available to improve visitor related facilities within Big South Fork NRRA.
As with any new system it will take time to fully implement and there will be some learning and adjustment on the part of trail users. Your patience, attention and assistance will be required.