On behalf of all Western Australians, the authors of the WA Strategic Trails Blueprint acknowledge and value the heritage, culture and spiritual connection of Aboriginal people with the lands and waterways through which trails pass. We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the Traditional Custodians and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
This project was jointly funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
(DLGSC) and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).
This document was produced with input from a Stakeholder Reference Group and with oversight from a Project Management Group. Al recommendations were developed and tested with both groups.
All consultancy work was completed by Common Ground Trails.
Ross MacCulloch (Tourism WA), Vivien Claughton (Department of Water and Environmental Regulation), Robert Taylor (WA Indigenous Tourism Operators Council), Francois Sauzier (Department of Transport), Bec Waddington (WA Local Government Association), Agata Sleeman (Trails WA) and Dr Gina Ambrosini (Department of Health).
The Project Management Group would also like to acknowledge the significant voluntary time and inputs provide by representatives. from the trail industry at interviews, workshops and in reviewing the "draft for-comment" document.
Conflicts of Interest were managed by DLGSC.
Photography: See images for credits.
Image selection: Denne Young
Cover image: Arklow Trail Network, near Collie.
Photo by Frances Andrijich.
Common Ground Trails Pty Ltd, its employees, directors and associated entities shall not be liable for any loss, damage, claim, costs, demands and expenses for any damage or injury of any kind whatsoever and howsoever arriving in connection with the use of this document or in connection with activities undertaken on trails generally.
While all due care and consideration has been undertaken in the preparation of this document, Common Ground Trails Pty Ltd advise that all recommendations, actions and information provided in this document is based upon research as referenced in this document.
Common Ground Trails Pty Ltd and its employees are not qualified to provide legal, medical or financial advice. Accordingly, detailed information in this regard will require additional professional consultation in order to adequately manage and maintain the facilities and reduce risk.
Blessed with landscapes which naturally invite us into the outdoors, trails have been an important and valued feature of the Western Australian landscape for more than 60,000 years.
Our State’s geography allows us to engage in a diverse range of trail experiences — be it a challenging ride, a leisurely stroll or a paddle along one of our many pristine waterways.
Some of Western Australia’s most-loved trails follow traditional pathways through country that has been used by Aboriginal people for generations.
Even through some of the most disruptive and challenging times for the industry, trails have remained
incredibly popular, increasing opportunities for social interactions, facilitating better health outcomes
and growing the appreciation for our natural environment.
Social distancing and isolation guidelines during the height of the pandemic meant more people were
holidaying at home and trails were considered a safe, affordable and enjoyable activity.
The growth in participation has been met with investment by the State Government, for example more
than $20 million invested in the Great Southern region towards trails and National Park amenities and
election commitments such as the Dwellingup Trails Gap Project.
We now face incredible opportunities to harness the advantage of increased participation in trail
activities and create opportunities that promote and grow trails in WA to embrace and benefit
communities on an economic, tourism and social level.
We have shown strength and resilience during difficult times and should be proud of our work to date
I am pleased that the Western Australian Strategic Trails Blueprint 2022-2027 has identified strategic
directions for the future that respond to emerging challenges and opportunities.
This document builds on the previous strategy and demonstrates the maturation of the trail
community, providing a strong foundation to launch into the next five years.
It is a valuable resource for Western Australia to guide future investment, planning consistency and
the sustainable trails development across our State — with the Trails Reference Group to oversee the
implementation program through to 2027.
Of course, this document would not be possible without the enduring collaborative partnership
between government, industry and the community.
I would like to extend a special thanks to our key decision makers for their continued investment in
Western Australia’s trail industry.
The growing importance of trails to the visitor and tourism economy as well as its powerful
influence on community development and personal wellbeing is significant and I look forward to the
opportunities for the Western Australian community ahead.
Hon David Templeman MLA
Minister for Sport and Recreation
Hon Reece Whitby MLA
Minister for Environment
I believe the WA Strategic Trails Blueprint clearly articulates a transition
toward deepening connection to country, community, and culture.
This shift will assist to identify and engage with Aboriginal people to
collaborate and ensure that First Nation's peoples' cultural values are
integrated across all stages of trail development.
Aboriginal people can connect trail users to at least 60,000 thousand years
of Dreaming Trail networks across this beautiful place we now share.
Therefore I congratulate the Trails Reference Group, and all authors of the
WA Strategic Trails Blueprint. I can now hope as this trails blueprint passes
from our direct sphere of influence, that it will receive the due diligence that it deserves.
Dr Noel G Nannup OAM
The WA Strategic Trails Blueprint 2022-2027 (the
Blueprint) is an overarching guide for consistent
and coordinated planning, development and
management of quality trails and trail experiences
across Western Australia. It provides a vision,
guiding principles, strategic directions and
actions for consideration across the state
by government, trail managers, landholders,
trail organisations, tourism operators and the
Building on the successes of the Western
Australian Strategic Trails Blueprint 2017-2021,
this new Blueprint presents a strategic refocus for
the trails industry with a shift towards deepening
trail users’ connection to country, community
and culture, whilst ensuring ongoing economic,
environmental and social sustainability of trail
Western Australia is blessed with stunning
natural landscapes and opportunities to connect
communities and visitors to these landscapes
through trails. The Blueprint expresses the
aspirations of the trails community to achieve
improved and sustainable outcomes for
trail supply, trail experiences, community
development, Aboriginal enterprise, job
creation and the local, regional and state visitor
There have been record levels of investment
committed to major trail projects such as Collie,
Dwellingup and several locations within the Great
Southern region. Conversely, there has been a
significant reduction in funding approvals for the
planning and construction of smaller, community-based
projects state-wide. This has created a
two-speed trails economy that has led to a level
of inconsistency of trail provision.
Physical and mental health continues to be vitally
important to the general wellbeing of Western
Australian communities, and trails in all their
forms provide a valuable outlet for exercise, play,
challenge, recreation and adventure. This adds
to the quality of life for Western Australians and
reduces reliance on health services. Trails also
improve the awareness and appreciation of the
natural environment and build support for its
conservation and protection.
Tourism is now playing a bigger and more
significant role in the development of trails, as
visitors look for interesting, challenging, authentic
and unique experiences as part of their holidays
and travels. This document recognises that
quality trails have the ability to create “Trail
Towns”, “Trail Centres”, “Trail Networks” and "Trail
Destinations”, which provide economic, tourism
and social benefits to communities and regions.
Moving forward it is important that there is an
Increased focus placed on ensuring trails are
inclusive, accessible, have robust funding and
management models, and are developed through
engagement with Traditional Custodians and all
By 2027, Western Australia’s
trails will connect more
people to Country through
shared experiences in diverse
landscapes, resulting in greater
community, social, cultural,
health and wellbeing outcomes
for Western Australia.
To achieve the vision for trails in Western Australia within this Blueprint, the following eight strategic
pillars and associated actions were identified:
Note: the engagement and contribution of Aboriginal people is applied across all strategic pillars.
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