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A group of people with the ocean behind them

More than 200 people attended the WA Trails and Recreation Forum, held over three days in October at various locations across the Great Southern.

Welcomes from Menang Elder Lester Coyne, City of Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington and keynote speaker Emma George set the scene for what would be an insightful forum of shared learnings and networking.

The Hon Dr Tony Buti MLA, Minister for Sport and Recreation officially opened the forum, speaking to the significant growth in the number of Western Australians engaging with the outdoors and trails.

Minister Buti outlined the State Government’s record levels of investment in trails projects across WA and new resources and training frameworks for the planning, construction and maintenance of trails.

The main forum included 30 presentations on a broad range of topics addressing the themes of recovery, resilience, recreation, planning, Aboriginal leadership and engagement and trail insights.

Highlights included:

  • catching a sneak peek of the redeveloped Trails WA website from Agata Sleeman which is expected to launch in December 2021
  • sessions that addressed increasing Aboriginal engagement in trails planning including a state tourism action plan, connecting to Country on trails, engaging with traditional owners and developing youth hiking leaders
  • a practical overview of the WA Trail Development Series from Outdoors Great Southern using a local case study of the Pwakkenbak/Mount Barker Mountain biking trail.
  • a new session on an economic rationalist approach to trails by Keston Economics
  • presentations that spoke to the ongoing challenges include Simon Mendelawitz from Inspiration Outdoors sharing the impacts of COVID-19 on outdoor businesses
  • insights from Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions’s Rod Annear into the governance and sustainability of trails, highlighting this as a significant priority for the future.

The broad range of attendees included land managers, planners, funders, trail builders, not-for-profit trail and recreation organisations, State and local government officers, volunteers, tourism experts and trail and recreation advocates.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive with more than 80% of surveyed attendees indicating the knowledge they gained will apply to their working role.

The WA Trails and Recreation Forum 2021 was hosted by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in partnership with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, City of Albany and Outdoors Great Southern.

A group of people outside

A group of people together at a conference

Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti speaking at a press conference

A person speaking at a lectern on stage. A Sydney 2000 Olympic logo is on screen.

People working on a walking trail

A group of people with their mountain bikes

A group of people with the ocean behind them

A group of people walking along a path

An audience seated listening to someone talk

A large group of people together at the town hall


Page reviewed 27 February 2023