Creating a unique NFCT Sign-in Box with a lot of help from our friends

The winter season is a flurry of activity as usual at NFCT headquarters.  We have been very fortunate to secure grants to help fund not only our intern program, but some big time infrastructure and management projects along the trail.  One that I would like to quickly highlight is a part of our Northern Border Regional Commission grant and ties into the creation of an Emergency Preparedness Plan that we are developing for the great state of Maine with funding from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.  Sign-in Boxes.  Yes, sign-in boxes, but not just any sign-in boxes.  I’m talking about sign-in boxes that you look at and immediately think of the unique adventures that the NFCT has to offer.  Sign-in boxes that are inviting and beckon you to leave your name and a message.  To attain these goals we are working to create a design that looks like the bow of a water craft.  To do this I have secured the expert abilities of a designer friend of mine, Zach Brock.

Zach has volunteered his time to develop a design that will be pleasant to the eye, rugged enough to stand up to the elements, cost-effective, and easy to put together in the field.  The first stage is the model:

So, now we have a great visual to work with we are going to get into the nuts and bolts of design.  Luckily, I think I know a carpenter that may be interested in helping.  If anyone else is interested in this project give me a holler (802)496-2285 x2, or send me and email.

Other help we can use from the NFCT supporters out there:  Canoe paddle handles!  If you have a broken wooden paddle sitting around we can put it to good use.  We’d like to use the top of paddles as a door knob for the sign-in box.  You know, just that added touch of class for such a classy trail.

In total we are looking at approximately 28 sign-in boxes.  They will be built and installed by our stewardship interns this season as they work their way across the trail.  We are looking to install them at gateways along the trail and on our kiosks.

The benefit of standardized sign-in boxes:

  • If we have good coverage across the trail, sign-in boxes can be used by emergency providers to locate a paddler.
  • Sign-in boxes can be used to get feedback about trail maintenance needs
  • We can monitor use which will help us manage the trail and provide useful numbers when we are applying for grants

In a couple of weeks Zach and I will be building the first proto-type.  I’ll keep you posted.  Till then, enjoy all of this snow!