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Two months in to 2023, and Claire Speegle, FLT’s lucky Red Rock Trail System and Development Coordinator, has already found two four-leafed clovers and one with five leaves. Claire has spent the last few weeks hitting the trails, FLT’s Red Rock Trail System® (RRTS) to install new signs; her bike, a post driver, and “toolbag”, a well-travelled glacial blue backpack, in tow.

Nearly 500 twelve-inch diamond-shaped blazes are being added to the RRTS as part of a large-scale signage initiative. These blazes will mark quarter-mile increments on trails along RRTS’s six existing corridors. The brightly-colored blazes placed at eye level will give trail users a helpful way to note distance while also serving to help users pinpoint their location in case of an emergency. At the trailheads, new bilingual kiosks are being installed to better inform trail users of their location, rules, and amenities.

The new signage rollout celebrates a complete rebrand of the RRTS, a project undertaken by Robert Finkel, Chair of the Graphic Design Program at Auburn University’s School of Industrial and Graphic Design. Finkel’s work on the branding campaign for RRTS earned him a national nod; you’ll find his name on Graphic Design USA’s list of 2022 American Graphic Design Award winners. Finkel worked with ArchitectureWorks’ Cynthia Coyle and Carlos Hernandez, both graduates of Auburn University’s School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture to design the new brand identity. Their combined efforts resulted in a visually stunning and functional new wayfinding system for the RRTS.

The continued expansion of the RRTS is off to a great start this year with two existing trails gaining additional mileage and two brand new segments in the Civil Rights District in the works. Trail construction on the next two miles of the Five Mile Creek Greenway in Brookside began in December, and should be completed by late spring. Earlier this month, the City of Homewood celebrated the groundbreaking for Phase II of Shades Creek Greenway, an addition which will extend the trail along Lakeshore Drive to Wildwood, and will be completed by the end of the year. This February, the City of Birmingham partnered with FLT to apply for a large federal grant for the proposed trails in the Civil Rights District, which will link City Walk BHAM to Morris Avenue and 20th Street to Legion Field.

This recent activity for the RRTS reflects objectives outlined in FLT’s new Strategic Plan, which covers our organization’s priorities and tangible goals for the next four years. A summary of the new Strategic Plan for 2023 to 2027 can be viewed here.

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