The Oak Leaf Trail in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin was conceived in 1939 by bicycle advocate Harold "Zip" Morgan. The system now stands at over 125 miles of paved trails and on-road connections.

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Historic Oak Leaf Trail signage

Historic Oak Leaf Trail signage

Despite serving as a cherished recreational option for many and a daily bicycle commuting route for thousands, the world-class Oak Leaf trail stands as a hidden gem. Other than small though charming directional signs, the trail has no signage that communicates the scale of the system or the connection to destinations. Infrequent users and tourists are particularly hamstrung finding themselves unaware of where the trail can take them.

My father worked for decades to improve the Oak Leaf experience. Better signage was his ultimate dream.
— Noel Kegel, Chris' Son

Working in tight collaboration with the Milwaukee County Parks Department, the Chris Kegel Foundation has spearheaded an effort to bring world-class signage to a world-class trail system. Inspired by renown transit systems, the team re-envisioned the system with distinct lines, links and destinations.

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The system-wide visual organization is then easily adapted to help trail users at specific locations.

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Chris Kegel Foundation’s Role

  • Catalyst, visioning and facilitator

  • Funded system planning and visioning

  • Funded 32 signage locations to date.