NORTH CREEK - In an unusual show of solidarity, Adirondack-area politicians, environmentalists and state officials lobbied this week to preserve the traditional color scheme of signs designating landmarks, waterways and natural attractions in the Adirondacks and the Catskills.
For about 80 years, those roadside informational signs in the Catskill and Adirondack preserves have traditionally been brown with yellow letters, unlike other areas in the state and across the nation.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has periodically sought to have those traditional signs replaced with new ones in the color scheme for national park markers - brown with white letters.
Oct. 1, a summit meeting about the signs with the FHWA included more than 40 people from the state Dept. of Transportation, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, regional politicians, the Adirondack Park Agency - and the Adirondack Park agency's nemesis, the APA Local Government Review Board - and representatives of environmental groups including Protect the Adirondacks.
They all urged the FHWA not to require replacement of the familiar brown-and-yellow color scheme.
"The Federal Highway Administration has an overriding concern that they like to have consistency nationally," said Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe, who also serves as Executive Director of the APA Local Government Review Road. "But the yellow-on-brown signs really are identified with the Adirondacks."
Monday, the Warren County Traffic Safety Board voted to urge the FHWA to retain the traditional color scheme of the signs. A similar resolution is expected from the county Board of Supervisors.
FHWA spokesman Jonathan Mueller said federal officials are listening to all parties and taking all input into account.
"The Federal Highway Administration and the state Department of Transportation are working together to determine the best options for signage within the Adirondacks," he said, adding that quick recognition and safety are factors for choosing white letters.