The debris I find along the riverbank is an unfortunate sign of the times, but that pales to the ongoing debacle in the Gulf of Mexico now in its 58th day! The signs that our way of life are overly dependent on fossil fuels and petroleum in particular have been in place for some time now. The funny thing about signs is that after a while they become so familiar that they are also easy to ignore. I decided to visit a place I feel I’m familiar with and learn what I could from the other more literal signs that are around here and this is what I found. The further away from the park you are, the more likely you are to find signs that beckon or welcome you. The Ohio River Scenic Byway sign promises an adventure complete with the possibility of steam boats and church steeples if you only follow the road that runs parallel to the river. Next you come to a sign that alerts you to the historical significance of the town itself which is just outside the park.
As you travel from east to west in our country you run into all kinds of markers that are a reminder of how arbitrary the “west” actually is…eventually you do run into the Pacific Ocean which was Lewis and Clark’s eventual goal. There are several signs that lead you into the park starting with this rather modest example. Eventually things do build up leading you to the Interpretive Center with its limestone sign.
The historical significance of this place not only to our country, but to the world’s heritage is well-marked. I’ll start with the more recent sign that represents the effort to recognize the Lewis and Clark bicentennial. This expedition of discovery was one of the great moments of exploration and deserves remembrance. We had to remind the historians, however, that this area played a huge part in the overall trip and had to fight for the recognition which included lobbying on the highest levels.
At least the sign for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail includes two representations of the explorers. I think it’s doubtful one of them wore a coonskin cap! Here’s the bronze plaque under the “official” statue (a story for another time!) explaining some of the significance of the voyage to the history of our country. And , one other plaque I found on the Interpretive Center honoring the fossil beds themselves.
Around the park are other descriptive markers that alert you to some of the attractions in the park. This sign describes the rich bird life that has been recorded here dating back to Audubon’s experiences.
The oddest signs in the park, however, describe two piles of dirt and rubble that I think we can thank the listed corporation for? They are used for educational purposes so kids in particular can have a fossil finding experience by sifting through this material.
Once you are in the park, however, one also encounters many signs that tell you what you can and cannot do. The park and Army Corps of Engineers have many rules and some of them alert you to potential dangers and hazards. Here are a few of those signs in the contexts in which they are found.
And if you break the rules…you better watch out because…
I can’t leave this post on this note, so just two more images. The first photo is the sign that gives credit where credit is due…and the last image is what it is giving thanks for! I know it is said that people no longer read, but if you pay attention to your surroundings, then you can learn all kinds of interesting things and ways to say them.