2019 Great Southern Trail Forum Proceedings

September 23, 2019 | Category =

A report on the 2019 Great Southern Trail Forum held in Albany in July has been released. The forum, which was co-hosted by the Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence (GSCORE), the City of Albany, and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), explored ways to make trails more inclusive.

The forum attracted over 100 participants from across the Great Southern region, representing businesses, local government, state government agencies, industry and community organisations, local trail groups and clubs, and trail users.

One of the highlights of the forum was a presentation by Matt Harrington from Yarra Ranges Shire Council on the Warburton MTB Destination project.

GSCORE Executive Director, Dr Lenore Lyons said that in addition to listening to the presentations, attendees participated in an interactive workshop that examined ways to overcome barriers to trail access, and ways to improve the mental and physical health benefits of trails.

“Forum participants identified a range of ways to overcome the access, ability and knowledge barriers the limit the community’s use of trails. Suggestions included the development of purpose-built trails to suit seniors and people with disabilities, as well as improvements in signage, maps and brochures”.

Dr Lyons said that the workshop findings will form part of the background research supporting the development of a Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan. The forum proceedings can be downloaded from the GSCORE website: 2019 Great Southern Trails Forum_Proceedings (pdf).


Albany Trail Town Forum Proceedings

September 2, 2018 | Category =
Workshop roundtable

A report on the Trail Town Forum & Workshops held in Albany in late May 2018 has been released. The forum, which was co-hosted by the Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence (GSCORE) and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC), explored the key features of international trail destinations.

The forum attracted over 100 participants from across the Great Southern region, representing businesses, local government, state government agencies, industry and community organisations, local trail groups and clubs, and trail users.

One of the highlights of the forum was an interactive workshop in which participants were broken into groups based on trail user activities (e.g. hiking, cycling, horse-riding). Participants were invited to reflect on their own trail experiences, their understanding of specific trail user needs, and their knowledge of regional trail opportunities, to develop recommendations for future trail investment.

GSCORE  Executive Director, Dr Lenore Lyons said that participants in the interactive workshop produced almost 40 pages of detailed notes on their vision for trails in the region. The Workshop Report synthesizes these findings and reveals that trail users across the region share a common vision.

“Regardless of their preferred trail activity, be that hiking, running, cycling, paddling or horse-riding, trail users have a great deal in common,” she said. “They want well built, environmentally sustainable trails that cater to a diversity of trail experiences”.

“It is clear from reviewing the workshop notes that the participants were passionate about the potential for trail development in the Great Southern. One of the overwhelming themes to emerge from the workshop is that trail users want planning to focus on a ‘whole user experience’ rather than just one trail activity or trail type.”

Dr Lyons said that the workshop findings will form part of the background research supporting the development of a Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan. The Report is broken into two volumes and can be downloaded from the GSCORE website:

Albany Trail Town Forum – Volume 1: Forum Proceedings

Albany Trail Town Forum – Volume 2: Interactive Workshop Notes

Calling all volunteers – Southern MTB

August 21, 2018 | Category =
Call to action for volunteers

Are you a keen mountain biker? Are you planning to participate in this year’s Southern MTB? Have you considered volunteering?

Southern MTB are looking for volunteers to marshal at either the Southern Peaks event (22 September) or the Urban Downhill (23 September). Anyone volunteering will receive 30% of their entry fee. The discount will be provided as cash back when you collect your race pack and on confirmation that you can still volunteer or provide a volunteer. To find out more, visit the Southern MTB Volunteer website.


Albany set to become an accredited Trail Town

June 1, 2018 | Category =
Trail Town Forum Workshop

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.

Albany Trail Town Forum – 31 May

May 2, 2018 | Category =
MTB trail in Albany

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and the Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence (GSCORE) are running a FREE community workshop with a keynote presentation from Chris Hughes who will be showcasing the best example of a Trail Town development in Australia – the Blue Derby Trails.

A Trail Town is “a population centre which has been assessed and accredited as a destination for its trails offering through the provision of high quality trails; outdoor experiences; trails related facilities/services; trail related businesses; and branding and signage” – WA Strategic Trails Blueprint 2017.

Trail Towns create jobs, grow regional economies and build communities. This has been demonstrated in numerous locations across the world and in some jurisdictions of Australia. However, whilst WA has extensive planning, business case and strategy development for establishing Trail Towns, there are no Trail Towns in this state!

The keynote presentation will be followed by two presentations that reflect on trail master planning in Western Australia, and a facilitated workshop that aims to identify the Great Southern’s unique trail offerings.

For those interested in learning more about best-practice trail design and construction, an optional Trail Building Workshop will be held in the afternoon, with a hands-on trail building session the next morning (Friday 1 June). Please note that places are limited for the trail building workshop and a registration fee of $55 (GST incl) applies for the theory workshop.

RSVP by 25 May. Register your attendance.

Andrew Liddawi and Break the Boundary

April 19, 2018 | Category =
Andrew Liddawi adaptive MTB

Guest story from Robert Cronin, a workplace learning student from Great Southern Grammar, who was placed with GSCORE in early 2018.

In November 2008, Andrew Liddawi a keen mountain bike (MTB) rider went for a ride with his mates on one of his favourite trails in Daisy Hill in Brisbane. On one part of the track he hit a particularly difficult corner which caused him to go flying off his bike. This resulted in him being completely paralysed from the waist down and from that moment on everything would be different. Rebound WA is an organisation that helps people with disabilities get back on track. Rebound WA got in contact with Andrew and started getting him involved with adaptive MTB riding to make him reconnect with the sport. In 2013 Andrew became the first ever paraplegic to compete in the Cape to Cape MTB riding event.

Andrew created his own organisation called “Break the Boundary” which has sparked many cycling groups in Queensland and Victoria to get involved in adaptive MTB riding. Andrew’s main goal is to encourage more and more people with physical disabilities to give adaptive MTB riding a go. Andrew says the main thing that keeps him motivated is “looking forward to helping other people, that just gets me going and if there wasn’t opportunity for growth in the industry for adaptive MTB riding I would probably just give up.”

Andrew Liddawi Break the Boundary
Andrew Liddawi from Break the Boundary talks to school students about Adaptive MTB

In March 2018, Andrew organised an adaptive MTB riding camp for people with physical disabilities in Albany. The camp was spread over 3 days and saw a group of people with physical disabilities have a go on different equipment, learn the basics, to tackle different terrain.

I had the opportunity to meet and interview Andrew after the camp. I asked him why he enjoyed it and Andrew felt that to start with it was about proving a point that he could still ride a bike and then he wanted to give others the opportunity to participate in Adaptive MTB. The main thing that attracts Andrew to the sport are the people and the places he has had the chance to visit. He has always been a very outdoors person and enjoys new trails, which is what attracted him to Albany. He has found the other people involved in Adaptive MTB are always friendly and provide support for each other as it can be isolated out in the bush.

Andrew recommends Adaptive MTBing to others for its physical benefits and it can help people with disabilities build skills and strength for everyday life. There are also mental health benefits in being outdoors and mental health can be a problem for people with physical disabilities. Being on the bike minimises the feeling of having a disability. It was great to meet Andrew and I look forward to more Adaptive MTB camps in Albany.

Dismantle Bike Rescue Pilot Program

March 19, 2018 | Category =
Dismantle Bike Rescue

Guest story from Robert Cronin, a workplace learning student from Great Southern Grammar, who was placed with GSCORE in early 2018. 

On the 12th of March 2018 a social enterprise based in Fremantle called “Dismantle” launched a pilot program in Albany called “Bike Rescue”. Dismantle specialises in creating innovative programs to help teens and adults reach their potential. Bike rescue is a program that sees troubled youth have a hands-on experience building two bikes from the ground up: one they build for themselves and the other one is donated to charity. In the program the young people learn how to build their confidence, social skills, and self-esteem. The program is empowering youth because at the end of the course they receive a bike that they made and have a stronger understanding of mechanical engineering.

Dismantle Bike Rescue Albany
Participants in Dismantle’s Albany Pilot Bike Rescue project

Pat Ryan the CEO of Dismantle says, “I’m passionate about contributing my efforts to help the most vulnerable people in our communities.” The reason this program connects so well with youth is because it opens up options for mental and career skills, for example if they are interested in mechanics then it’s a stepping stone in that direction or if they want to meet new friends, it’s a stepping stone in that direction.

Darren Thomas the Business Manager at Dismantle say, “A lot of the stuff that the youth gain is self-belief and their own personal development”. At the end of the course the participants get to take their bikes on cycle trails and test them out. As the program is in Albany this will encourage them to get outside more and experience the Albany countryside and see what it has to offer. Pat Ryan says that the main character trait he sees the young participants pick up at the end of the course is pride. “When they first arrive they see the bikes as heaps of junk covered in rust and by the end of the course they mechanically see a working bicycle and go for a ride on it knowing that they built it,” he said.

Bike Restoration Dismantle
One of the restored bikes

The main reason that participants pull apart and put back together a bike is because it gives the Dismantle staff a long period of time to interact with the young people. Sometimes the program be a life changing catalyst for young people because for the first time they may learn to trust an adult or share their feelings. Pat says, “The main success of the program is that it feeds their curiosity” and that it “has them stripping the bikes down, taking the nuts and bolts apart, and painting it, and there is all this curiosity that leads from step to step.” In five year’s time Pat wants to see every kid have the opportunity to have the tools and the know-how to pull a bike apart and put it back together. He believes that having a bike is a fantastic rite of passage.

GSCORE at Camp Quaranup Open Day

October 16, 2017 | Category =
GSCORE Information Booth

A big thank you to everyone who participated in our “Outdoors October” contest at the Camp Quaranup Community Open Day.

Visitors to the Open Day were encouraged to visit the GSCORE Information Booth where they could pick up brochures and maps promoting all the amazing outdoor recreation activities, tours and attractions on offer in our region.

To celebrate “Outdoor October” visitors were encouraged to make a pledge to get outdoors this October and upload their entry to our Facebook contest page. Winners were drawn at random at the close of the Open Day with almost 40 prizes given away.

A selection of fantastic prizes were supplied by these awesome sponsors: SUPLime WA Stand-up Paddle Board School, South Coast Surfing Lessons, Albany Segway Tours, Poornarti Aboriginal Tours, Albany’s Historic Whaling Station, and Kalgan Queen Cruises.

Congratulations to all the winners. You can view a selection of the pledge entries on our Facebook page.

Outdoors October Pledge
Hannah will be “Enjoying nature in the South West by walking, hiking and cycling”


Minister officially launches GSCORE

October 9, 2017 | Category =
Alannah MacTiernan archery

GSCORE was launched at Camp Quaranup on Friday 6 October by Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan.

Partners in the Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence (GSCORE) have welcomed the official launch of the initiative. The Great Southern Development Commission (GSDC), the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, and the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) are the joint supporters of the project.

GSCORE Executive Director Dr Lenore Lyons said the centre’s aim was to make the Great Southern the adventure capital of Australia and to increase the economic and social benefits of outdoor recreation for the region.

“It’s fitting that we officially launch GSCORE at Camp Quaranup in Albany,” Dr Lyons said. “Quaranup has been the site of student camps for over one hundred years. Our goal is to capitalise on the camp’s rich history and stunning location to position the Great Southern region as a destination for outdoor education and active leadership.”

GSDC Chair Ross Thornton said the project aligned with the strategic directions of the Commission. “We know the huge importance and further potential of tourism for the region,” Mr Thornton said. “GSCORE will open innovative avenues to grow that sector of the regional economy and provide jobs that are linked to appreciation and protection of the natural environment that we all value,” Mr Thornton said.

Albany Chamber of Commerce president Caroline Hayes said the organisation was delighted to see GSCORE’s early signs of progress. “We’re very pleased to be involved in this exciting initiative which is sure to showcase our fantastic region,” Ms Hayes said. “GSCORE will bring long-term benefits to tourism operators and other businesses.”

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