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In praise of kiosks

Kiosk: a small structure having one or more sides open, used as a newsstand, refreshment stand, bandstand, etc. (from Dictionary.com)

Okay, so maybe the kiosks along the Ice Age Trail don’t offer refreshments or music…though we have handed out cookies and hot chocolate at the kiosk that is pictured here (located behind the Lodi High School) as part of our Lodi Valley Chapter’s Tyke Hikes with Santa. However, I’ve chosen to put the spotlight on kiosks in this post and sing their praises because of their function as a “newsstand” and source of helpful information for those who visit the Ice Age Trail.

The fact that our Lodi Valley area kiosks even exist is praiseworthy because they are a result of the efforts of volunteers. The kiosks were built by hand, some of them by local Scouts as their Eagle Scout project (thank you, Scouts) and some of them by Ice Age Trail volunteers (thank you, volunteers). Lodi Valley Chapter volunteers keep the kiosks looking good and stocked with Trail maps (thank you, Connie & Ross).

So, just what can be found at the kiosks and why should you check them out? For one thing, each of the kiosks in the Lodi Valley area have an attached map box which holds maps of the local Trail segments. You can take one with you or study it and put it back for the next hiker to use. Either way, it helps acquaint you with the Trail.

The newest addition to the kiosks in the Lodi Valley area is the “You Are Here” maps which are made of metal and mounted on the kiosks. These maps are designed to show you exactly where you are and serve as a great way to orient yourself. This is especially helpful on the segment that runs between the parking lot at Gibraltar Rock Road and the parking lot at the other end of this segment, which is at the corner of Cty V and Cty JV. Many people park at the lot on Gibraltar Rock Road and hike to the end of this segment and, when they see a parking lot, they expect to see their car…not realizing that there is a parking lot at each end.

So, here’s the hitch: Many people don’t look at the kiosk and don’t see the map that will indicate that the two parking lots exist. Kiosks are only helpful if people take time to look at them. In addition to maps, the kiosks are also a place to find out about things such as upcoming events on the Ice Age Trail, information specific to that Trail segment (e.g., plants, geology, hunting, etc), as well as who to contact to learn more about the Ice Age Trail and how you can get involved.

Hats off the the kiosks and to all who play a role in their existence. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to check out a kiosk the next time you’re out and about….Along the Ice Age Trail.

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