Fayetteville looks to establish branding for city trails

A person in September rides north under the Frisco Trail tunnel at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in south Fayetteville.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

FAYETTEVILLE — City officials want the city’s trails to have their own identity that can be used for wayfinding and signage across the city’s system of over 51 miles of paved trails.

A plan to establish branding for the trail system is in the works, according to Dane Eifling, the city’s mobility coordinator.

Eifling said the Razorback Greenway is the most popular trail in town, and averages about 850 trips per day, but trails that connect to the Greenway – like Mud Creek Trail, Meadow Valley Trail, and the Old Wire Cycle Track – have seen a recent uptick in activity with each trail having up to 250 trips per day.

Eifling said that’s likely because residents are starting to enjoy the larger loops that those connector trails help form when combined with the Greenway.

A new 5-mile loop, which includes portions of the Greenway, Town Branch Trail and Tsa La Gi Trail, was created in August when construction was completed on a long-awaited trail segment that extended Tsa La Gi west from Razorback Road to a previous dead end point.

South Loop map: Fayetteville Flyer

Another 12-mile loop through central Fayetteville could be ready sometime next year. Many parts of the route are already completed, but two projects still remain to close the loop.

The first project is a new bikeway connector between the Greenway and Mission Boulevard. The second project is a side path along Mission Boulevard that will connect to Old Wire Road. Once complete, the 12-mile loop will include the Old Wire Cycle Track, Niokaska Creek Trail, Mud Creek Trail, the Razorback Greenway, the Razorback-Mission Connector and Mission Boulevard.

Eifling said each loop has its own identity and set of experiences, so the plan is to communicate those differences while also helping trail users find their way using an authentic set of icons and on-ground markings, similar to what other cities have established for their trail systems.

The city of Rogers recently completed a 15-mile loop anchored by a connection to Railyard Park. That network, Eifling said, is called Railyard Loop and includes a custom emblem that’s used on the trail to help people navigate the loop.

Eifling said he recently toured the loop and the signage was helpful, especially for visitors from other cities.

“The markings really help you feel comfortable and confident that you’re on the right path,” Eifling said.

Another example is in Anchorage, Alaska where a distinctive symbol is used to identify the Anchorage Trails system. That identity can be expanded across the system as wayfinding materials to accommodate individual trails as sub-brands.

Anchorage Trails branding

Eifling said a $385,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation for the Mission-Razorback connector included funding for communication and wayfinding, so the city put out a request for proposals for graphic design and Fayetteville-based agency Archetype was awarded the contract.

The contract calls for creation of a Fayetteville Trails logo, a style guide for branding and naming of future trail routes, as well as logos and stylized maps for the southern and central loops.

Eifling in December told the city’s Active Transportation Advisory Committee that he hopes the designs will be ready to unveil sometime this spring.