STRIKING wooden sign posts have been installed at several trail heads throughout the picturesque Valley Lakes precinct as part of a Mount Gambier Prison community program.
A small group of inmates crafted 14 hardwood signs and six trail markers to help clearly identify mountain bike trails to locals and visitors who frequent the area.
Mount Gambier Mountain Bike Club member and prison correctional officer Ali Scott approached prison industries manager Trevor Holtham to suggest the project, which was born out of club discussions.
“Projects like this are important for the prisoners’ rehabilitation, helping them learn new skills, foster good positive relationships in a working environment, co-operate together and take pride in their work,” he said.
“With troubled times, like the uncertainty of life outside the prison affected by COVID-19, it has also helped keep their minds active.
“Now the signs are in place we hope more mountain bikers will use the designated trails and be able to identify which way to go and exactly where the trails are.”
Mr Holtham and prison general manager Michelle Price agreed to donate the signs which encourage active lifestyles for the Mount Gambier community.
“The more we can help with opportunities available for youth and the people of Mount Gambier, the better,” Mr Holthmasn said.
“We decided to focus on helping with the bike tracks as we thought it was a great way for people to get outdoors.”
Mr Holtham said the 20 signs took around eight working days to complete with the inmates involved in the letter spacing, sign oiling and woodworking.
“They came up with how the brackets should go on and into the concrete so it was possible to maximise the 1200mm height,” he said.
Mount Gambier Mountain Bike Club president Andrew Jones said he was grateful for the donation, stating the new signs would benefit any visiting or local trail users.
“We have a lot of people who do not know where the tracks are when they come to Mount Gambier,” he said.
“Pushbike riding has taken off ten-fold and we get a lot of families, kids, husbands and wives visiting the region to use the tracks.
“We just want to make sure people are aware the tracks are mountain bike tracks.”
Mr Jones said he had already received positive feedback.
“We are very happy with how they came turned out, they are great, quality signs,” he said.