Scooter MacMillan, Editor

Photo by Larry Sommers A sign at Plouffe Lane and Carpenter Road that someone used a shotgun on. ‘We are better than this,’ selectboard chair Jim Faulkner said of the vandalism.

Photo by Larry Sommers
A sign at Plouffe Lane and Carpenter Road that someone used a shotgun on. ‘We are better than this,’ selectboard chair Jim Faulkner said of the vandalism.

Putting up trail signs is a lot more than digging a hole, putting in a post and nailing a sign to it.

Members of Charlotte Trails Committee can tell you about the many things that are involved in marking a trail so users know the way once they’re on the trail, putting up other signs so people can find the trail and signs to show where to park to access a trail. But they can also tell you about all the things that happened before they had the different signs to put up.

“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into something that might seem as simple as just putting up signs,” trails committee chair Bill Regan said.

Before volunteers could even start putting up signs, the committee had to find a design firm, Brault & Barnes Design in Vergennes, which came up with several options. Then committee members had to go before the selectboard to see if it would endorse the designs the committee preferred for the various signs needed.

The design of a roadside sign needs to be different than a trailhead sign, which needs to be different than a wayfinding sign, which goes up where there’s a trail junction.

With all of the different signs required, the committee realized it needed to have an inventory of the number and location of all the places where signs should go. That involved a GPS mapping project as well, Regan said.

Luckily, Brault & Barnes was not only able to come up with a design the committee and the selectboard liked, it also was able to help with the mapping and inventory.

Then the committee had to put the project out to bid for a company to actually manufacture and help install the signs. That bid was awarded to an Essex company with the creative name of Design Signs.

Photo by Larry Sommers Larry Sommers, left, and David Ziegelman stand next to one of the many signs they worked many hours on over the past year to help upgrade signs on Charlotte’s trail system.

Photo by Larry Sommers
Larry Sommers, left, and David Ziegelman stand next to one of the many signs they worked many hours on over the past year to help upgrade signs on Charlotte’s trail system.

And then the signs were made and have been going up for the past couple of months.

All the credit for seeing this work through to completion should go to David Ziegelman and Larry Sommers, the members of the trails committee who spearheaded the sign project, Regan said. “They really had the vision.”

“They’ve done enormous amounts of work, untold hours behind the scenes to make this happen. It’s taken really the better part of the year to go from start to finish, so it was a ton of volunteer time on their behalf,” he said.

And the project has come in almost $100 under the just over $17,600 allocated for it.

Unfortunately, the work wasn’t over once the signs were installed. Someone shot up two trail signs at Plouffe Lane on Carpenter Road.

(In the interest of full disclosure: Bill Regan is a member of The Charlotte News board of directors.)