Here's the Scoop: November 21, 2012

Signs of the times
If you’ve driven through the Catskills lately, you’ve seen the many directional signs that have sprung up in recent months. The brown and white signs are meant to highlight the region’s recreational assets such as hiking, winter sports and boating. Keeping with the outdoor theme, the signs are as plentiful as ants at a picnic.

I like the signs — it’s like we’re finally being acknowledged as an area that offers some really great outdoor opportunities. Kind of like we’re all grown up!
Of course, any time “progress” is made, there are often some growing pains. Shortly after some of the signs went up, grumblings could be heard.

“If you turn left in a quarter-mile like the sign says, you’ll be hiking right through Joe Smith’s living room,” is a typical comment.

A little off course
It’s true that some of the signs may need a little “adjustment,” in terms of directing people to their destination. I’m proud to state that I need no such help when it comes to telling people where to go.

I also noticed that last week, highway workers were busy — removing a number of the signs along Route 28, presumably because the distance indicated by the signs wasn’t quite accurate. Personally, I have a huge problem when a business advertises something like, “14 miles ahead” and you reach the place 20 miles later, after spending the last five or six miles questioning the Garmin Lady’s work ethic.

Plus, while I think these signs should be useful, getting folks in the general vicinity of a turn towards a trail should be adequate. If people can’t figure out how to drive to a trailhead, there’s no predicting what sort of mischief people will find themselves in when they actually start walking through the woods.

Earlier I noted that I like these directional signs. I think that statement should be amended. I believe the signs illustrating “downhill skiing” need some work. A lot of work, actually. Translation: “How the heck did those things see the light of day?”

They are memorable
You know the signs to which I’m referring. The signs feature a “skier” who actually looks like someone falling down the basement steps. Or, in the cases where the “skier” is tilted in the other direction, it appears that the stick figure has just slipped on an icy patch and is ready to take a tumble.

These are just my interpretations, I’m sure there are many others. There is no “wrong” answer here — unless you think the signs depict something other than an absurd caricature of a skier.
I’m thinking that the entire “quality control” department was on vacation in the sign shop — and at all levels of state government when the “skiing” signs were allowed to see the light of day. I guess it’s the thought that counts. Maybe they should add a disclaimer on the bottom of the signs, “Don’t try this on the slopes.”
— Brian Sweeney