Good Signage. Helping Visitors Get Around in a Rural Tourism Town.

by Joanne Steele on May 4, 2010

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Last Saturday, I spent the day passing out sidewalk chalk to young artists decorating sidewalks as part of Dunsmuir’s River Festival.

The day was glorious, the booths and activities were perfect. Then, a visitor came up to me and asked, “Where’s the river?”

I gave her directions to several river access points, and then sat back and thought, “How easy would it have been for her to find the river if I wasn’t sitting here looking accessible?”

Dunsmuir prides itself in being the town with the Upper Sacramento River running through it. We market our world-class fly fishing and easy river access for catch and keep fishing within the town limits. But when you’re downtown, although the river is just a short walk away, the location is not obvious.

Signs. We need signs!

This is a common problem for most rural communities. We know where everything is, so neglect to remember that visitors need signs to find their way around.

They need signs to reassure themselves that they’re not lost. They need signs to find attractions and services, and to help them understand what they are seeing.

Over the next few posts I’ll be sharing information about signage that has been prepared for rural communities in BC Canada by the Tourism Research Innovation Project and Thompson Rivers University’s Red Tree Project.

As an introduction to the idea of conducting a sign audit for your town, I’ve included a downloadable pdf, Welcome! A Manual to Enhance Community Signage and Visitor Experience.

This 47 page e-book by Chrystal Stone and Nicole L. Vaugeois gives an excellent overview of effective signage, including steps for enhancing your community’s signage. The final resources pages are specific to BC, Canada, but will give you an idea of the types of resources you need to look for in your own area.

In my next post, I’ll introduce you to a sign audit process presented by developer, Anne Kokko at BC, Canada’s Rural Tourism Conference last month. Here’s the link to that post:

How to Conduct a Sign Audit of Your Rural Tourism Town

Photo by Mykl Roventine

1 Carolyn Deuchar May 5, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Great to follow your blogs and tweets! Signage is a real issue for rural tourism in New Zealand, especially in less favoured rural destinations. Very much looking forward to knowing more about the recently presented signage audit process.

2 Joanne Steele May 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Hello Carolyn,
Sign audit info coming tomorrow. I picked up the latest issues of Sunset Magazine and got distract from my mission! I’d like to hear more about how you’re addressing your signage problems.

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