Wayfinding signs deliver highlights to Roseburg

Published by Peyton Manning on

Wayfinding sign along the Umpqua River Trail
Picture by Peyton Manning / The Mainstream

Wayfinding signs deliver highlights to Roseburg

Wayfinding signs mysteriously appeared along the Umpqua River Trail a few weeks ago and only those involved know how.

Sign near the Duck Pond
Picture by Peyton Manning / The Mainstream

That is until Blue Zones Project announced the new trail signs that the Roseburg Parks Department, Blue Zones Project Built Environment Committee, and other volunteers helped create along the path. These two wayfinding signs, one near the Duck Pond and the other near the Stewart Park train, provide walkers and bikers with highlights of Roseburg.

Blue Zones Project and the Parks Department also implemented the signs in hopes that more people will bike or walk along the nature trails to discover more direct paths while enjoying their surroundings. “Wayfinding signs are common in communities promoting active transportation,” said Juliete Palenshus, the community engagement director of the Umpqua Blue Zones Project.

This path, recently named the Umpqua River Trail, unites the Duck Pond with Stewart Park and continues through Roseburg. “In some cases, it’s the most direct way to get from one place to another,” she said.

However, many people worry about safety when traveling along trails.

Sign near the Stewart Park train
Picture by Peyton Manning / The Mainstream

Kris Ammerman, Roseburg parks director, wants people to understand that danger remains unlikely in high-visibility locations, especially with the cleanliness that the Parks Department maintains. “When people can see you, you can see them,” he said. “Keeping things clean and tidy is what we strive for.”

Secure walking and biking areas are only one part of the routine to lead a healthier life for Blue Zones Project. Blue Zones Project strives to inspire people to eat better, enjoy life, and live longer.

Volunteers gathered together after they read Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.

These “Blue Zones” describe countries with fewer chronic health issues, lower amounts of premature and middle-age death, and healthier eating and drug habits. According to National Geographic, Dan Buettner determines the five Blue Zones of the world: Ikaria, Greece; Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; Loma Linda, Calif.; and Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.

Okinawa is known for its centenarians. Loma Linda’s Seventh Day Adventists focus on not smoking or drinking and switching to veganism. Nicoya Peninsula places importance on family and living a fulfilling life.

The Blue Zones Project wants other communities to learn from Blue Zones so more people have access to healthy options.

For example, Blue Zones Project introduces healthful concepts to grocery stores. Sherm’s and Downtown Market implemented fruits and vegetables as a main staple in their stores.

More whole-foods in the kitchen allows for more variety in meals. “I think Sherm’s does a great job in providing selection, including healthy options, and bulk items,” said Sherm’s Store Manager John Robertson on the Blue Zones Project website. “This allows people to cook from scratch and save money.”

The project tries to inform Sherm’s customers as well. In Sherm’s there is a well being information station that gives recipes and first steps for making a healthier lifestyle. “Blue Zones Project® can help local grocers educate their customers on improving their family’s nutrition and provide easier access to healthful and tasty foods,” according to the Blue Zones Project website.

Palenshus stated that she and the other volunteer members are very proud and optimistic about the effect that Blue Zones Project, the Parks Department, and other volunteers make on the community.

If the community has made a large enough improvement, Blue Zones Project can review and determine the well-being of the community. This progress will determine whether or not the Umpqua community is a Blue Zone Certified Community, and being a certified community demonstrates a step to a healthier and longer life.

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