Lakeway trail signs let you use a smartphone to find your way.
LAKEWAY — While on the Canyonlands trails in Lakeway, Mayor Dave DeOme came across a man who was lost and beginning to worry.
DeOme helped the man find his way, and later the mayor asked the city’s parks and recreation director, Andra Dearing, to give the city’s trail signs a modernday overhaul.
Twenty-five metal signs inspired by the city’s logo have replaced wooden directional pointers fixed to trees in the Canyonlands. The new signs, which are mounted on cedar posts, are equipped with a 21st century touch as well: QR codes, which allow people to access maps using a smartphone’s QR code reader. Trail QR codes are popping up around the country as a way to keep hikers, bikers and walkers on course.
“The trails themselves are a spaghetti bowl,” Dearing said on a recent afternoon on the Canyonlands trails, which are near the Rough Hollow and Highland subdivisions.
“There was a need for better signage,” DeOme said. “They’re a great addition to the trail system. I just hope that it makes for a better experience for people — that they feel comforted and they know their way around.”
To pay for the sign project, Dearing turned to the Lakeway Civic Corp., an organization that predates the city’s incorporation and is set up to give money to projects through a trust fund. The group gave $10,000 to cover the cost of the project, which included new map kiosks and the 25 trail signs.
While the signs were being made by Lakeway-based Stokes Sign Co., Dearing asked if QR codes could be added.
As Lakeway expands with new subdivisions, city officials have been adding walking trails in new sections of the city as well as figuring out ways to tie together newer and older parts of the city through trails. Dearing said other trail signs in Lakeway will be outfitted with QR codes in the future.
New trails will be added to the city in 2013, including an extension of the median trail on Lakeway Boulevard.
As the city’s trails are visited by more people, the new signs will be useful, especially to Lakeway newcomers, Dearing said.
“We hope they will be helpful,” she said. “We’ve had a couple of people already say they used them and they like them.” Contact Marques G. Harper at 445-3974.