Experiencing NCOS – Trails, Interpretive Signs, and more!

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 11:48 -- Ryan Clark

Several interpretive signs are located along walking paths around the UCSB Campus Lagoon. Planning is in progress for similar signs to be installed along the trails at NCOS.


The trails, interpretive signs, benches and related features of the NCOS project are coming into focus and will soon be implemented. Granite Construction will build the bridges and crossings this summer and fall. The funding and design for benches and signage are in progress.

The UCBS campus contains a variety of open space areas and restoration sites, many with walking paths and trails. Along some of these trails, walkers will encounter a diversity of interpretive signage. In partnership with the Associated Students Coastal Fund and Housing and Residential Services, CCBER has designed and installed 17 interpretive signs at natural areas and restoration sites around campus (click this link to an interactive map of campus that shows the locations along with links to digital copies of the signs). These signs focus on interpreting the key ecological features in the natural areas and how they are managed. For example, signs installed around the Campus Lagoon inform visitors about topics such as 1) how bioswales and created wetlands enhance water quality by filtering out excess nutrients and heavy metals, 2) which bird species visit the lagoon and when, and 3) the geologic history and current management of the lagoon. A walk around Manzanita Village includes opportunities to learn about unique vernal pools as well as whale migration and wildlife use of this natural area. Signs adjacent to Storke wetland interpret land-use history and plant adaptations to different soil moisture and salinity patterns.


The three images above are extracts of existing interpretive signs at the Campus Lagoon, Manzanita Village, and Storke Wetland sites on campus. Click on each image to view a complete version of each sign.


Interpretive signage for the NCOS project will be located primarily at the trailhead gathering area near the Whittier Drive entrance to the site. This area will include shade sails and benches, which are part of a design to accommodate small gatherings such as school groups. Signs may also be installed adjacent to the overlook benches, and the information on these would be specific to particular views.

Top image - extract of NCOS restoration plan map with location of proposed gathering area circled in red. Bottom image - proposed design of primary gathering and interpretive area.


Our current proposal for sign topics include some of the following themes based on features of the site and funding sources. The NCOS team is interested in incorporating information that will answer questions that you have or that you think others might have about the site. Please email your suggestions to ncos@ccber.ucsb.edu

  • Land use history: from the Chumash time to the present
  • Map of design and habitat features
  • Trail map and connections to the larger landscape of Ellwood-Devereux
  • Ethnobotany and cultural use of plants and materials
  • Wildlife identification support – who, when, and where to look
  • Hydrologic patterns and wetland features
  • Carbon sequestration by wetland and upland plant communities
  • Sea level rise design features and other research & monitoring topics
  • Plant adaptations
  • Acknowledgement sign (funders & partners)
  • Your ideas for sign topics and/or other interpretive features!


A novel idea for the NCOS experience is to include bar codes on interpretive signs that would link smartphones to audio soundtracks or tours. These might include traditional Chumash stories and songs that would interpret the historic use of the landscape by Native Americans. This may provide opportunities to offer a variety of audio guides to other resources, such as bird calls and songs.

The primary trail system has been largely delineated at this time. Trail bridges, boardwalks and crossings will be installed in the fall, along with benches, mutt mitt stations and welcoming signage during the winter and spring.


Friday, July 28, 2017 - 11:45