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Rome's Heritage Trail signs offer bird sounds

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Recordings of native birdcalls played at the ceremony Tuesday marking completion of the rest areas and interactive signs on the Heritage Trail System in Rome.

“It’s a great trail system and this just adds so much to the trail,” said attendee Frank Carlton.

The birdcalls — of waterfowl — came from an interactive sign installed with the rest area on Chieftains Trail, near the State Mutual Stadium trailhead. Another rest area on the trail features songbirds.

When the improvements were being planned, the Northwest Georgia Council for Independent Living wanted something interactive for users to enjoy. They came up with the idea of signs with QR codes that link to recordings of native birdcalls.

A QR code is similar to a barcode. People can either scan the code with their smartphones or type in the link on the sign to hear the different birds.

Rome-based SAI Digital and Stereotrash Records created the interactive trail signs, which use recordings from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. They include introductions describing the birds for visually impaired trail users.

The trail improvements were funded through a $69,105 grant from the Georgia Recreational Trails Program.

Rome City Commissioner Wendy Davis said the GCIL also helped ensure the two rest areas that feature the interactive signs are entirely handicapped-accessible.

“These areas are for everyone,” said Davis.

Mayor Jamie Doss said the trail improvements are just another step in the plans for the Rome-Floyd County trail system.

“We are serious about connecting to the Silver Comet Trail. It is a very high priority,” said Doss.