Author Topic: Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR  (Read 4014 times)

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Offline zzzz

Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR
« on: September 05, 2017, 10:53:58 am »

This is mainly directed at the fine folks at ACA but if it would have been useful to anyone else who has been on the GDMBR, feel free to speak up in support of the idea.

I recently got back from the first 800 miles of the GDMBR. While I am abnormally pathetic when it comes to using technology I am not alone in that regard and my garmin and with the way points was of little use to me so I was using the maps and my odometer exclusively. That might of been okay but the odometer was always off by some amount. There may have been a wrong turn that added 1.1 miles or a stop off for lunch that added .6 miles so I was always getting to a turn and having to stop and write down the difference between the milage on the map and the odometer and note the actual milage to the next turn. It was actually pretty time consuming and distracting from relaxing and enjoying the ride.

I've done a fair amount of hiking on the Appalachian Trail and at all the turns there are 2 white blazes (lines) painted on a tree. Where there are no trees, there is a pile of rocks. This is really useful for staying on route. I'm asking if this would be something ACA would consider adding to the route?


Offline John Nettles

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Re: Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2017, 11:59:04 am »
I agree.  I actually would like posts with little signs, i.e. a "rustic" 4"x4" post in the ground with a rustic smallish sign that has GDMBR and an arrow indicating the direction at key intersections.  I would think a fundraiser and volunteer effort would get a lot of it marked, at least the hinterlands.  However, the slash marks would be a good way also but may have to be repainted periodically (every year???).  Good idea!

Offline zzzz

Re: Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2017, 01:15:34 pm »
While 4x4 posts would be be great, now your talking a post hole digger and heavy materials to get on site and some real work getting it all installed. But the sign is an idea that that would be more money for the actual sign upfront then paint but should "be set it and forget it" excepting vandalism. I'm thinking a 6" x 6" yellow or orange metal sign w a couple of holes punched in to nail it up. You could have a left turn (as shown in attachment if it worked), a right, and a continue straight.

The thing that works well with the paint is that it can't be torn off and its easy to put on, a stencil and a can of paint is all you would need. On the appalacian trail people volunteer to adopt a section of trail and refresh the paint when it's worn. It's not every year but it does require maintenance. A rider could volunteer for example to repaint miles 250-275 just because it's a way to contribute or for a credit at Cyclesource or some other inducement. Also, I did meet a lot of locals who seemed to have a lot of interest in the route and the people it brought thru their town. Maybe after the original blazes or signs were put up they could be enticed to look after it. Sort of like "adopt-a-hywy" but a lot less work.

And if there's a fundraiser for this, I'm in.


Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2017, 03:58:11 pm »
The two issues I see with the blazes suggestion are the need to set up and support volunteers to paint and maintain the painted blazes, and the problems with vandals.  I'm thinking particularly of one spot on the AT where some local youfs had painted brown blazes over every white blaze that was visible from a clearing, and additional brown blazes on every game trail and clear spot in the brush.

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2017, 05:49:46 pm »
I guess I am thinking that each sign (post, cement/crush rock, two signs (borth & south bound, 4 bolts, labor, gas) is, say $100.00, installed.  People could sign up for a sign (ha ha).  Since a lot of motorcyclists use the route too, the fundraiser could be spread to them also.  I would think that over a couple of years, the entire route could be signed.  How many signs would there need to be?  300-400??  It's doable.  Start in one area (or each state border) and work your way south (or north).

I think the same about other ACA routes but that would probably take more money since more turns are done.  Additionally, you would have a lot more "red tape" getting the signs put up due to a lot more jurisdictions.

Heck, raise the map prices by $1 and that money goes ONLY ONLY ONLY ONLY towards permanent signs.

Course, I think it would be neat if ACA lobbied to have biker campgrounds in small towns and again, monies could be raised to build them.  There are getting to be more and more towns and/or campgrounds that do not allow tent camping,  Perhaps, if we built it, they would maintain it.

Oh well, nice to fantasize that these things would happen but doubt they ever will.


Offline RonK

Re: Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2017, 08:19:45 pm »
This is how we marked the national trail in Oz...

The Bicentennial National Trail

« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 08:31:09 pm by RonK »
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

Offline Iowagriz

Re: Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2017, 11:04:37 pm »
While I appreciated the infrequent sign that I did come across. I actually believe the opposite. Using the map to navigate is one of the unique parts of the route that keeps it unpopulated. Making it easier will invite those that are unprepared and eventually cause problems.

Not everything in life should be easy.

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Offline GSullivan

Re: Suggestion: Painted Blazes on the GDMBR
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2017, 11:59:47 am »
Hi everyone -

I'm going to weigh in on this discussion on behalf of Adventure Cycling. Unfortunately, we don't have the resources to sign the Great Divide, but more importantly, the jurisdictions (as John pointed out) would have to agree to the signs - whatever they might be - and in many cases they would have to pay for them, place them and maintain them. We know from coordinating the U.S. Bicycle Route System how complicated and costly this can be. I love the idea of the small swatches and that might be something we can work on in the future, noting that there will be hundreds of land managers (USFS, counties, BLM, townships, cities) that would have to agree. So, we'd have to grow staff and/or volunteer workforce to make that happen.

John also mentioned town campgrounds, we do have an effort to get more towns and land agencies to put up bike camps, hiker/biker sites and no-turn-away policies. For the camping sites, we are mostly focused on National Parks and State Park systems, however we work with a great number of small towns on how they can install bike camps like the one in Twin Bridges,  MT and Ovando, MT - Ovando sees over 1000 GDMBR cyclists come through their town of 65 residents. This has had a big and positive impact on them. Here is more information from our website:

and bike camps

Thanks for the great discussion and ideas. We do listen. We do pay attention. Be sure to take our surveys when they come your way so we can continue to serve you to the best of our abilities.

Cheers, Ginny Sullivan

Ginny Sullivan