As the temperatures rise, more and more people head to parks to enjoy the beautiful scenery and get some exercise. Now, bikers and hikers who experience an emergency can quickly summon help to their exact location thanks to Jackson County Parks + Rec’s new trail-marking system.
Every two-tenths of a mile along the Little Blue Trace Trail, the Longview Lake Bike Trail and the Lake Vista Trail at Blue Springs Lake, Jackson County has installed signposts that employ a metro-wide alpha-numeric marking system developed by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC).
Now, if someone needs help along one of the marked trails, they can note the 5-digit address on the nearest trail-safety sign and use it to tell a 911 operator where to send help.
“This is a great advancement in public safety,” said Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders. “We’re using the latest technology to add a layer of safety to one of the oldest recreational activities – trail walking and riding.”
Rick Messer of Raytown was out walking along the Little Blue Trace Trail when he learned about the safety-sign program.
“This is a great trail,” he said, “really family friendly – and it’s nice to know that if my wife is out walking it, I don’t have to worry about her safety.”
The markers are part of the MARC’s Kansas City Regional Trail Safety Initiative, which brings together municipalities across the area.
Using MARC’s grid concept, the county’s Geographical Information Systems Department created the address coordinates which are affixed to each trail safety marker.
According to Saralyn Hays, 911 Program Manager for MARC, fire departments and EMS responders can set up protocols for each location in the system, immediately letting them and 911 dispatchers know the necessary equipment for each place. For example, if someone falls in a remote area, EMS responders could quickly know that they need to send an all-terrain vehicle to reach him or her.
Parks + Rec Director Michele Newman believes that “this is just one more way Jackson County is making our parks the best they can be!