Maps & Signs: Public Outreach in Cody Wyoming

In early 2018, GBI entered into an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management to support the Wyoming State Office in promoting public outreach and wilderness education. Recent work on this agreement has yielded a number of tangible products, including interpretive signs and trail maps for the Cody, WY field office, which encompasses and manages 1.1 million surface acres in Northwest Wyoming. This land ownership stretches from the Bighorn Mountains in the East, across the Bighorn Basin, to the Absaroka Mountains in the west. This remarkably scenic area within the field office includes diverse ecoregions such as the 12,000 ft. Carter Mountains (the highest elevation BLM land), vast sagebrush steppe, riparian areas, and the multicolored badlands of McCullough peaks.

GBI’s role in this work was largely handled by Research Associate Patrick Barrus, who here describes the nature of these efforts: “My work with the BLM in Cody, Wyoming eventually became dominated by a project to create interpretive signs for all developed recreation sites in the field office. About a dozen of these signs were created, each with a map specific to the type of site (e.g. campground, trailhead). The trail maps were then georeferenced, uploaded to the BLM website, and are currently available as a free download. Additionally, I created a recreation guide for the field office with an accompanying map in the form of a brochure.”

It is hoped that this work will help enhance visitors’ experiences by sprucing up the appearance of recreation sites and providing information that should help visitors understand both regulations and recreation opportunities. Additionally, as Patrick points out, “if a visitor has downloaded a trail map to their phone, they should never be lost because they can pinpoint their location.”

Patrick further describes both the challenges of the project and the value of collaborative work. “My boss, Rick Tryder [BLM Cody field office outdoor recreation planner], was excellent to work with because he had a lot of great ideas, motivated me to challenge myself with unfamiliar software, and gave me plenty of time to figure out how. I also was fortunate to have guidance from the Public Affairs and GIS folks at the District and State level in order to gain official approval for the maps. That said, I essentially had to teach myself how to use digital illustration, GIS, and publishing software over the course of the summer. But, after a lot of trial-and-error, many drafts and newbie mistakes, watching YouTube tutorials, asking dumb questions, we actually pulled it off. Diving into a project without knowing exactly what to do, but figuring it out along the way, was a great experience.”

We’re happy to report that Patrick will be continuing his work with GBI in the near future, this time in Rawlins. Although the coronavirus outbreak has delayed field operations, Patrick remains eager to spend another great season with GBI and the BLM, and we’re excited to have him back, as well.

On this page are some examples of Patrick’s work. Also, be sure to visit the BLM, Wyoming website to learn more about recreational activities and see Patrick’s work in action.

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