More than 100 people recently attended the Albany Trail Town Forum and practical workshops to explore the potential for Albany to develop as a trail town, which can create jobs, grow regional economies and build communities.
A key presentation at the forum featured Blue Derby Trails, a mountain bike trail network in Tasmania, regarded as the best trail town development in Australia. Since the trail opened in 2014, it has led to the stunning economic revival of Derby, a small town in Tasmania’s north-east.
Participants at the Albany forum were encouraged to have their say during interactive sessions on the types of trails they would like built in the Great Southern, including mountain biking, hiking, running, diving, kayaking and horse-riding.
The Great Southern is a prime location for an extensive multi-use trail network with existing trails and plenty of locations like the Stirling Range National Park waiting to be activated and utilised, according to GSCORE Executive Director Dr Lenore Lyons. Dr Lyons said the Trail Town strategy had proven successful in Tasmania, which, until then, had seen population numbers stagnating since 2006.
“With the development of trails for mountain bikes they’re seeing about 30,000 tourists per annum,” she said. “That’s millions of dollars of income to the region and across Tasmania.”
Participants at the Albany events, on 31 May and 1 June, were also given the opportunity to take part in a best practice trail design and construction workshop and a hands-on trail-building session at Camp Quaranup.
The forum and workshops were presented by the Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence (GSCORE) and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSCI).
Participants came from local and state governments, environmental and community groups, sporting clubs, tourism businesses and higher education institutions.
The photograph shows Rosie Smith, Dirty Feet Tours, and David Schober, Shire of Denmark, discussing trail running ideas in the interactive workshop.