Tuesday, 06 December 2016 08:00

All signs point to visitors finding it more easy to 'Discover Crowsnest Heritage'

Written by  Stephanie Labbe
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Visitors entering the Crowsnest Pass are reminded the heritage of the area is waiting to be discovered, as this sign points out with Frank Slide making a spectacular view in the background. Visitors entering the Crowsnest Pass are reminded the heritage of the area is waiting to be discovered, as this sign points out with Frank Slide making a spectacular view in the background. Photo contributed

The Discover Crowsnest Heritage Signage Program has once again been recognized for its heritage efforts.

This program was a result of the 2002 Crowsnest Heritage Master plan. The first phase of the project was implemented in 2007 and the final phase was completed in 2015.
“As a result of the Crowsnest Heritage Master Plan a signage sub-committee of the Crowsnest Heritage Initiative was formed to pursue implementing a comprehensive heritage Signage Program for the Crowsnest Pass,” says Fred Bradley, chair for the Crowsnest Heritage Initiative Society.
This program supports a self-guided heritage driving route and walking tours throughout the Crowsnest Pass.
An undertaking of the Crowsnest Heritage Initiative ‘Discover Crowsnest Heritage’ was envisioned in the organization’s 2002 master plan with the objectives of increasing the local and travelling public’s awareness of the area’s right heritage, promoting conservation of heritage resources and increasing tourism by drawing travellers from Highway 3 through the main streets of the municipality’s five major communities.
There have been prominent highway signs and additional directional signs put up to help guide travellers into the communities, where kiosks in Bellevue, Hillcrest, Blairmore and Coleman provide historical context and an overview of nearby attractions and historical points of interest.
Bradley says the kiosk displays are supported by printed guides and tear-off maps available in the community and by the organization’s website.
There are dozens of free-standing signs, address sites and themes of historical importance, while more than 100 small plaques placed on historic commercial buildings are oriented as pedestrians.
In total, the program cost about $180,000. It was funded in part through Alberta Lottery Fund and Community Initiatives Program grants, with further financial contributions from local service groups and corporate sponsors.
Bradley says additional support was provided by the municipality for planning, administrations and sign installation.
The kiosk and sign structures were designed by Japanese exchange students in the engineering program at the Nippon Institute of Technology’s Blairmore campus.
As well, the sign content and photographs were researched by volunteer committee members of the Crowsnest Heritage Initiative using the resources of the Crowsnest Museum and other archives.
This isn’t the first recognition this program has received.
“In 2008, Crowsnest Heritage Driving Route received the new idea program award from the Chinook Country Tourist Association for successfully developing and promoting a new tourism product,” adds Bradley.
The signage program received the Heritage Award for the Heritage Awareness category.
Bradley says they’re proud of this program and what it does for the heritage of the Crowsnest Pass area.
“The Crowsnest Heritage Initiative is proud of this program, because it has created greater awareness of the Crowsnest Pass’ rich history for both local citizens and the travelling public through a comprehensive heritage signage program.”
The Heritage Awards gives recognition for projects that “demonstrate excellence in the conservation of a historic place” or “excellence in the conservation and interpretation of paleontological and archaeological resources.”
Projects completed within the last three years are eligible for nomination.
To visit the organization’s website, see: www.crowsnestheritage.ca.

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