CRNHA makes improvements to scenic byway signage

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Gibko Sign Company installs an interpretive plaque at the Jefferson Street Pocket Park.

Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA) completed Phase 1 of scheduled improvements to the Signage and Wayfinding system along the Cane River National Heritage Trail, a Louisiana scenic byway that links thirty-two heritage sites and attractions along the 116,000 acres designated as the Cane River National Heritage Area. In 2005, the Cane River National Heritage Area Commission created the CRNHA Wayfinding, Signage and Identity program. The program has been successful in creating a cohesive visitor experience and includes auto-directional wayfinding, site identification, information, and interpretive signage.

Crews from Gibko Sign Company install auto-directional signage along University Parkway as part of the Phase 1 improvements.

Through collaboration with the Natchitoches Parish Government and the City of Natchitoches, Cane River National Heritage Area created a navigable corridor that enhances visitation to heritage attractions, improves existing infrastructure and accommodates new development while preserving the intrinsic qualities of the Cane River region.

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“Over the course of the program’s fifteen-year period, our signage program has helped nearly a million visitors navigate our rural roads and discover our region’s most fascinating stories,” said CRNHA Executive Director Rebecca Blankenbaker. “This spring, our staff conducted an evaluation of our signage system and created a four-phase plan for replacing the most weather worn and damaged signs.” Phase 1 of the plan included the replacement of 13 auto-directional signs and 2 interpretive plaques. Phase 2, which is currently in the design phase, will include 11 auto-directional signs and 2 new trailhead panels at the kiosks on I-49. Phase 2 is projected to be completed by the end of 2020. Phase 3 and 4 will finish updating all auto-directional signs and will take place in 2021. CRNHA is working with the regional company, Gibko Signs located in Bunkie to fabricate and install the new signage.

The signage system is supported by a comprehensive guidebook; walking and driving trail brochures; a mobile responsive website, www.CaneRiverNHA.org; and the recently created GoNatchitoches App available for download in the Apple and Google app stores.