Monday, December 22, 2014

"Signs" are Important Communication Tools

South Border Fence at Oceano Dunes SVRA

Festive lights at shopping malls, decorated store fronts, and carols playing in many venues are all signs the Christmas season is upon us.  Signs are important forms of communication.   Land management agencies also use “signs” to communicate their commitment to high quality recreation and resource protection.

Boundary Fence between Motorized and Non-Motorized Area

One example of that commitment is Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) located on California’s Central Coast.   Managing about 1,500 acres of open OHV sand riding and another 1,500 acres for non-motorized uses requires a complex system of “signs” that include border fencing, travel management placards, and public education.

Placards are used to advise users about speed limits, dangerous surf, and where to camp.  With over 1.6 million recreationists visiting the SVRA each year, maintaining those signs is a must. 

Dune Condition Advisory Sign

Insuring the integrity of the border fencing that separates the motorized area from the non-motorized section requires a constant vigil due to blowing sand or sand washed in by the tide.

Native plants are protected by exclosures in the OHV open area.  Exclosures (specific areas fenced in to protect important natural or cultural resources) have proved effective management tools in many sand-based state and federal OHV open areas.

Vegetation Islands (Exclosures) within SVRA OHV Open Area 

QWR believes the ongoing public education program at the SVRA is also an important sign the agency has dedicated a significant amount of time to help users, school children, and local residents understand the many recreational, natural, and cultural resources that reside within the unit.

SVRA Education Program on Cultural Heritage

The aforementioned signs are the most effective (and often the only management tool the public sees) method by which a land agency communicates its commitment to the public and the resource.  Other “signs” can include level/type of law enforcement, route markers, and understandable maps.

QWR believes the quality of an agency’s signing program is directly proportional to the rate of user enjoyment, public compliance with regulations, and success of the unit’s mission, vision, and values.

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