It's not hard to get turned around on the Riverfront Trail which runs from Fruita to Palisade. Now the county is working to make the trail easier to navigate so users feel safer. Know More about the new emergency markers soon lining the trail.
Several years ago, authorities tried to implement a similar marker system, but they say those signs weren't really visible and actually confused many of the trail users. Mesa County hopes these new markers will make it easy for visitors to identify their location on the trails immediately, especially in the event of an emergency.
With the similar trees and similar views, Riverfront Trail user Rick Black says he can understand how someone could lose their way on the trail.
"It's very confusing because it all looks kind of the same," he said. "The foliage is all kind of the same, and so it's easy to get lost or turned around."
Getting lost is just one issue Riverfront Trail users brought to Mesa County public hearings, so those involved with the project decided to do something.
"They weren't feeling safe on the trails," Mesa County Parks manager Greg Linza said, "[So] we've instigated this program, it's an emergency marker post."
The Riverfront Trail will soon have location markers scattered along the entire trail system from Fruita to Palisade.
"They’re going to be in quarter-mile increments in line with north-south street system of the county,” 911 Center operations manager Monica Million said.
In the event of an emergency, a person would call 911 and give them the trail name and number on the nearest post, indicating their exact location rather than attempting to make an educated guess. Emergency personnel would then send help straight to the victim.
"[The marker system] also pulls up on 911 showing the closest access for emergency services," Linza said.
Authorities hope the new trail system will help users feel a little more secure knowing help can find exactly where they are is something bad happens.
"The trail system is really important to this community. We have people that really recreate in Mesa County," Million said.
In addition to the safety concerns, some trail users were happy to see these new posts because of the convenience they add when it comes to meeting up with friends at a specific location on the trail. Others will use the mile markers to determine how far they need to go to achieve their exercise goals.
County parks say it will have all of the emergency markers by the mid to end of January, and they'll be installed on all existing trails.