• Posted Oct 6, 2007

Trail users can use new trail signs to pinpoint locations on trails in case of emergency or to report fallen trees, etc.

Carson Galloway, center, gets assistance from Richard Brown, left, and his dad, Joe Galloway, as part of his Eagle Scout project to design and install the first phase of an E911 trail marking system for Des Moines and Polk County. This location is on the John Pat Dorrian Trail just south of the Scott Avenue Bridge. Richard is trails coordinator for Des Moines Parks & Recreation; Joe is president of the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Board. On Saturday, October 6th 2007, four volunteers finished applying vinyl letters to the sign posts on 7.75 miles of the John Pat Dorrian and Inter-Urban trails. Carson organized volunteers to measure out 1/4-mile distances and install the 4-inch-wide green posts. With other volunteers, he determined the 6-digit GPS locations, which are incorporated into each sign. The 6-digit location pinpoints a location within a 100x100 meter grid. Now, trail users can use the signage to alert Polk County emergency responders to problems on the trail. The markers will also identify the location of other non-emergency calls, such as report of a fallen tree across the trail. Parks and Rec is accepting offers from other trail enthusiasts to complete the signage project for all of its 34 miles of trails. Parks and Rec is paying for the sign posts and vinyl lettering on both sides of the posts (about $160 per mile). Interested groups should contact Richard Brown, trails coordinator, at 248-6356. The project has been in the works for about a year. An E911 signage program was recommended to Des Moines Parks and Rec and the Polk County Conservation Board by the Trails and Greenways Advisory Committee, a citizen committee. The GPS numbering convention was suggested by Gary Scott, director of the WDM Parks and Rec, which also a representative on the committee. Completion of the project is one of the goals the DM City Council is considering toward Des Moines' 2008 application for Bike Friendly Community status. Already, Polk County Conservation Board has ordered the signs. West Des Moines has embraced the same designation and other Polk County municipalities are encouraged to do the same. Carson is a member of Troop 92, which meets at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Carl Voss

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