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Design Elements of the Mammoth Lakes, CA Gateway Project...

Design Elements of the Mammoth Lakes, CA Gateway Project: The Mountains are Calling

The Mammoth Gateway Project is an effort to elaborate on the entrance to the resort community of Mammoth Lakes, CA. Signage is crucial for travelers and Mammoth Lakes needs wayfinding markers to help tourists get around with ease, while creating memorable experiences. The Mammoth Gateway Project is the ultimate expression of Mammoth’s desire to stick

Mammoth Gateway ProjectThe Mammoth Gateway Project is an effort to elaborate on the entrance to the resort community of Mammoth Lakes, CA. Signage is crucial for travelers and Mammoth Lakes needs wayfinding markers to help tourists get around with ease, while creating memorable experiences. The Mammoth Gateway Project is the ultimate expression of Mammoth’s desire to stick out amongst other tourist communities in the Eastern Sierras, branding itself as “the top of California.”

The new signs that are proposed to straddle the entrance to Mammoth Lakes on State Highway 203 are meant to act as a “new front door” to the community.
The two monuments will welcome visitors, giving them a sense that a new adventure is about to begin.

The graphic design of the signs spurred controversial conversations over what the text would say and the font used. Inspired by the surrounding natural elements, the contemporary welcome signs will portray a “rugged and timeless” design inspired by quarried granite and steel construction materials.  The new welcome and farewell messages are quotes selected from environmentalist and activist John Muir. Pending approval from the United States Forest Service, the welcome message will be “The mountains are calling...” and the farewell message will be “Going to the mountains is going home.” These quotes and improvements in the local infrastructure will inspire pride among locals.

Mammoth Gateway ProjectNot only will the monuments welcome tourists and instill pride in the local community, but they will help Mammoth Lakes gain industry distinction as a year-round tourist destination. Some hope that they will provide opportunities to increase marketing. During hard economic times, the monuments will become photo opportunities for visitors from around the world who will share their experiences with their friends and family. These photos will now have the words “Mammoth Lakes” right in the background.

Made possible through private/public/volunteer partnership most of the funds and services have been donated to make this project a success. On February 15, 2012 the Town of Mammoth Lakes Town Council, in a controversial move that resulted in the resignation of the entire Public Arts Commission, allocated $250,000 towards the project. Groundbreaking is expected Spring 2012.

Do you think that wayfinding and welcome signs should be funded with money specifically allocated for public arts projects?

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

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Patricia wrote for The GRID between October 2011 and October 2012. During this time she was a graduate student in Community & Regional Planning with a concentration in Latin American Studies at the University of New Mexico. She was also a recent ...

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