Is that a promise?

trail marker says "erratic trail"

The 707 Community Park on Gabriola has been installing trail markers. I had to giggle when I saw the new sign naming the trail I’d been on. Well, yes it is…


10 thoughts on “Is that a promise?

  1. Once I saw these signs my thought was I wonder how long it would take before someone decides to either remove, destroy or steal them. If who ever didn’t like the little red triangles on the trees you could hardly see and thought they took away from the natural look of the woods or the small pieces of colored tape occasionally placed on trees, how will they react to the more stand out large in your face posts?(no matter how attractive they may be and I think they are attractive and necessary). We shall see.

    1. I’ve always thought those people aren’t protecting nature, they are protecting what they think of as their own from use by other people. Its to make it hard to use and keep it private for them and a select other few.

      1. I think that for some there’s also a genuine interest in preventing beautiful spaces being cluttered up with unnecessary human detritus, coupled with a believe that marking and defining spaces actually harms our interactions with them by making it possible to experience them without paying attention to them.

        My personal feelings about it are mixed—I dislike walking over-marked trails, and I’m in favour of encouraging people to experience a place on more than a superficial level, but at the same time I dislike getting lost because there is no detailed map available, I’m not at the location for long enough to explore slowly and get to know the place, and I can’t afford a GPS. (A compass helps a lot but won’t resolve all questions.) I also think there are safety issues with not marking trails that a lot of people are likely to use. So I generally like the idea of discreet markers at at least some major intersections.

      2. Those are interesting observations and I agree that some people do think those ways. I guess my experience of such people is limited though – maybe I have lived in the wrong kinds of places. I think I can understand the defining spaces harms our interactions point of view – but really that is up to the individual and if one can’t walk on a groomed trail and still pay attention to the environment, then it begs the question why are they out there anyway, but also makes me wonder ‘so what?’, that’s the way they are and at least they are out on the trail, rather than on a sidewalk or couch.

        I too dislike getting lost, and appreciate some form of marker as I find it takes repeated and fairly close together traverses to learn an unmarked route that does not have a trail associated with it. I prefer clam shells, or a small blaze or similar mark to plastic flagging tape, though I have hung boxes and boxes of flagging tape over the years to demarcate various kinds of boundaries, usually so I can map something accurately after finding its edges.

      3. Clam shells! That works for me.

        I’d really love to see art—not splashy paintings or other things that clash with the environment, but something made with stone or wood that fits into the natural surroundings and provides a little surprise—mark intersections. I think that would be really cool.

      4. That is a great idea, little stone sculptures. I have a soapstone mother and child sculpture from San Francisco that was pretty beat up so I screwed it onto the gate post that crosses to my neighbour’s back yard – the gate is to keep their 3 year old from wandering without permission as we traverse each other’s yards for short cuts. I put the sculpture at a 3 year old face level, adults usually don’t even see it.

        The great thing about clam shells is that they work well at night – either with reflected natural light, or from a flashlight.

      5. And then you could give directions like “turn left at the mother and child, then turn right at the bear…”

        (I hadn’t thought of the whiteness of clamshells, that would be a benefit.)

  2. I love walking on the many trails on this Island and I have walked many well known and many not so well known over the past 10 years, and I find it amusing and many times comforting to find a marker whether it be a colored tape or a whimsical piece of art such as a birdhouse or a door in a make believe fairy house found in a tree.
    even a door knob on a tree It makes one feel like Alice in Wonderland “If I could just turn this door knob and enter a magic land” Ha Ha nutted yes, but aren’t there times that you would like to get lost in a fantasy or to escape reality for just an hour or two. I sure do and I know a few other people who walk those woods just for that same reason. Anyway what I’m trying to say is “to those who dislike these types of markers lighten up and smile at someones imagination go with the flow they really aren’t that bad and they add to the whimsey of the walk. they make you giggle and sometimes will put a smile on a face that may be having a bad or sad day. Now finding a beer can on a tree or an oil can found atop a stump is not my idea of a great marker and should be removed. But why remove colored tape someone has placed carefully to help a new walker in the area to get back safe or find the the trail another time.or the plastic triangles which were meant to help guide unfamiliar walkers find their way. And in the 707 it is a public park designed and marked by a committed of volunteers who’s goal is to provide us with a save environment to walk and hike in. It is not their intention to disrupt the natural state of the area they have tried other means of marking trails and those of you who have fought against their efforts should just let it go and let the rest of us and new comers use the park knowing we will not get lost. Just lighten up and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air while it’s here and let well enough alone.

    1. I’m with you on liking the whimisical things, when they’re fairly subtle and fit in. I like suddenly noticing the occasional door in a stump or mask or birdhouse or doorknob. To me they’re all things that suggest a story that’s compatible with the forest (unlike beer cans).

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