DOINews: BLM-Wyoming: National Sign Center is a National Resource

Last edited 09/05/2019

Every year, four Bureau of Land Management employees, David Wolfe, Chris Bezold, Johnathan Lemieux and Kenneth Klapatch. turn out an average of 4,000 to 5,000 major signs for the BLM, Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, National Landscape Conservation Service and many cooperating agencies. This work is done at the National Sign Center in-the BLM-Wyoming Rawlins Field Office.

BLM's Dave Wolfe shows some of the recycled materials used in signs.

Dave Wolfe shows some of the recycled materials used in signs. Photo by BLM.

These products can range from a 16-foot-long sign to a 1-inch-by-1/2-inch reflective sticker. Most signs are constructed of aluminum or marine-grade plywood. Others are made from experimental materials like old nylon carpet combined with resin and formed into sheets of "plywood" or a hard plastic made in Wheatland, Wyo., from recycled milk jugs mixed with wheat and barley straw.

BLM's Chris Bezold laminates a sign.

Chris Bezold laminates a sign. Photo by BLM.

John Lemieux separates decals.

John Lemieux separates decals.

John Lemieux separates decals.

Ken Klapatch prepares a sign. Photo by BLM.

The sign center has also produced test panels for camouflaging oil and gas facilities, rustic redwood headstones for the Oregon Trail, a 150-pound, inlaid-wood BLM emblem and the hand-carved dinosaur-bone box in the Rawlins Field Office lobby.

The average life of a sign is only five to seven years, mainly due to vandalism. Supervisor Dave Wolfe says that putting the American flag on signs can deter some vandals. "No one wants to shoot the flag."

Damaged BLM sign for Hennick Draw Road

Government signs make popular shooting targets. In some areas, a sign will go unscathed for a very short time. Photo by BLM.

Damaged BLM sign

This particular case of vandalism was not caused by humans. Rather, ravens seemed to take pleasure in pecking it regularly. Photo by BLM.

Without vandalism, a sign's life can extend up to 35 years. However, the longer a sign remains installed, the more likely it will be obsolete in the information it contains. Many older signs also do not meet BLM or state highway department reflective standards. As such, BLM strives to replace or test BLM signs every seven years. There is also a desire to keep up with technological advances and include QR codes on signs to easily and quickly connect with the public.

New BLM sign

A recently produced sign for the BLM Wyoming Kemmerer Field Office. Photo by BLM.

To learn more about the sign center or how to order a sign, visit

By: BLM-Wyoming

Nov. 14, 2014

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