Signs & Posters

The Signs and Posters toolbox provides information on signing inside and outside wilderness. FS sign policy, guidelines, sources and examples are provided along with logos and symbols for all agencies. Contact us to suggest new materials for inclusion.



The topic of signs in wilderness is one that often prompts discussion and differing view among those dedicated to wilderness stewardship. The diversity of opinions ranges from those who would prefer to see no signs in wilderness to those who think management efforts or visitor experience would be more effective with additional signage. The Wilderness Act established wilderness for the "use and enjoyment" of visitors but also tells us that it is for primitive recreation and is to remain undeveloped (see Wilderness Act and Signs). Because the law does not provide more specific direction the managing agencies have developed policies to implement the law and strike a balance between seemingly different needs for signing in wilderness.

Signs and posters displayed at trailheads, visitor contact stations and other venues can be effective communication tools for wilderness information and education. The design, content, size, color, and placement of the trailhead information boards or other signs is often dependent on agency, regional, or unit guidelines and local sources should be consulted. The guidelines and examples provided in this toolbox are a sample of what is in use currently. Additional resources will be added as they are received.

The Wilderness Act

Wilderness Sign Policy and Guidelines



Wilderness Sign Policy

Wilderness is designated as an area that is "for the use and enjoyment of the American people" and it "opportunities for primitive recreation". But it is also an area that is undeveloped and in 'contrast to those areas where man and his works dominate the landscape". To meet these mandates, expressed in The Wilderness Act of 1964, agencies have developed policies and guidelines for signs in wilderness that provide necessary information but refrain from allowing wilderness to become developed. The direction for management of wilderness in the national forests is found in FSM 2320 and other directives as noted below.

Wilderness signs can be used at trailheads and entry points to inform visitors about the wilderness resource, provide information on maps, post regulations, and help educate visitors on the use of Leave No Trace techniques.

Sign and Poster Guidelines
R2 Trailhead Sign Guidelines
Forests and Districts in R2 should follow these 4 elements:
  1. Consistent header with the name of the trailhead and the name of the wilderness on the header. (Usually white letters on sky-blue background, but others have tried different color backgrounds.)
  2. Consistent wolf logo at the bottom with the words "National Wilderness Preservation System."
  3. Consistent "you-are-here" map
  4. Consistent LNT and wilderness messages using the   themes messages  that have been developed or the   "icon" with bullet statements  (developed by Dick Ostergaard).

Sign Sources

Motor Vehicle Trespass Sign Sources

(from the Gallatin National Forest - Kimberley Schlenker)

Process all orders through agency procurement processes


JWOD (mandatory first opportunity to bid)

If JWOD cannot meet requirements: Shenango Screenprinting in Coeur D'Alene, 6120 Commerce Loop, Post Falls, ID 83854. Contact is Gene Omara - (208) 667-1406. Recent cost (21004) was about $50 per sign.

Disposable COREX plastic version of the large orange signs available in Bozeman, MT at Hands On Screenprinting - about $5.00 each.

Sign Templates

From the Forest Service San Dimas Technology and Development Center




Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Wilderness Posters
Shenandoah National Park Wilderness Posters
Forever Wild Poster
Renewal Poster
Solitude Poster
Traditional Tools Poster
Untrammeled Poster

Post-Fire Hazards

Klamath NF
Six Rivers NF

Hazard Trees

These poosters were made by  Kristine Route  and  Kathleen Meyer . Kristine works with AmeriCorps on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, and Kathleen lives in Montana and is the author of the international bestselling outdoor guide, How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art. Contact the designers for more information or for higher quality file formats.