The trails forum was hosted by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC); the Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions (DBCA); and Trails WA.
The forum’s theme was ‘Planning for Excellence’ and the room was filled with land managers, planners, funders, trail builders, local government officers, volunteers, tourism experts and trails advocates.
Tim Swart, DLGSC’s Director of Participation and Camps, opened the event with an overview of key achievements from the State’s Strategic Trails blueprint 2017-21.
He also officially launched two documents — the Trails Development Series and the Western Australian Mountain Bike Management guidelines — to provide guidance and a consistent development approach to trails across WA.
Attendees were also given a briefing by Stuart Harrison of DBCA on major developments announced earlier this year for trails in Dwellingup and Collie.
Highlights from the day included presentations from experts around Australia who updated the audience on various projects they were involved with in Victoria and the Northern Territory.
Matt Harrington, of the Yarra Ranges Council, provided an overview of the significant planning being undertaken in the Warburton Mountain Bike project in Victoria, stressing the importance of partnerships, destination thinking and passion, drive and commitment.
The Northern Territory’s Chris Day, Senior Director Parks and Wildlife Operations with the NT Government shared the success of the Larapinta Trail and the development of the Red Centre adventure ride in the Tjoritha/West MacDonnell National Park. He focused on engaging and generating opportunities and benefits for traditional owners and local communities.
Other presentations included Trails WA’s Linda Daniels and Kelvin Barr speaking on the organisations strategic direction and trail town agenda.
Jamie Bennet from Outdoors WA shared information on the WA Adaptive Trail Hub and provided an update on the Australian Adventure Activity Standards and good practice guides.
Melina Mellino and DLGSC’s Steve Bennett offered key learnings from attending international events in 2018-19 including the upward trend of trails developed across the globe, the impact of variable weather conditions, the importance of planning to prevent overuse, and the rise of e-bikes.
Claire Savage from Savagely Creative presented on behalf of Tourism WA and shared learnings in developing destination trail products.