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Regional Trails Master Plan Update

July 29, 2019 | Category =

The Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan is one step closer to completion with the finalisation of the Trails Background Report. The report, which was circulated to all funding stakeholders in June 2019,  provides the project partners with an overview of the current trail networks in the region and an understanding of the social, health, economic, and environmental benefits of trails in order to identify opportunities for potential trail development.

In January 2019, GSCORE conducted an audit of existing and planned trails in each local government area (LGA) across the Great Southern region. This audit revealed that the Great Southern region has many tracks and trails with different characteristics. However, because most of these have been developed in isolation from each other, the region lacks a coherent trail offering. There is a high concentration of trails close to coastal areas, while inland areas, despite having natural attractions including parks and reserves, are very poorly served by trail infrastructure.

In addition to a trail audit, GSCORE undertook a comprehensive review of existing planning documents at a local, regional and state level. This audit revealed that there has been little local level planning to meet the growing demand from residents for the construction of trails and trail networks. Except for the City of Albany, which is implementing its Trails Hub Strategy, none of the other local governments in the Great Southern have current local Trails Master Plans or equivalent documents.

Throughout March to May 2019, GSCORE undertook an extensive community consultation process that involved key stakeholders, including landowners, land managers, local governments, the regional development commission, tourism organisations, peak recreational bodies, user groups, and the broader community. The main data collection techniques were face-to-face workshops, meetings with stakeholder groups, and an online survey. Stakeholder groups and community members were asked to identify gaps in local and regional trail provision and to generate ideas for future trails. Most of the discussion focused on local trail ideas that would cater to the needs of residents. Opportunities to increase visitation to the Great Southern through trail-based tourism were also discussed.

The trail audit and community consultation process has shown that to achieve our vision there is an urgent need to develop a range of different trail types that will address local needs while providing unique and diverse trails experiences to increase visitation. The Master Plan will identify and prioritise areas where high quality, sustainable and accessible trails could be developed, including locations capable of hosting state, national and international events.

Read more about the findings of the Trails Background Report in this infographic.

Master plan for trails gets federal funding boost

July 17, 2019 | Category =

Trails in the Great Southern have been given a further boost.

In the latest round of the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, the Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan has received $129,482 in funding.

The plan will create a vision to guide the growth and development of trails across the region.

Spearheaded by the Great Southern Centre for Outdoor Recreation Excellence (GSCORE), the plan will identify a 10-year program of infrastructure delivery for a range of different trail types and user groups, including residents and visitors as well potentially attracting national and international trail events.

Work has already started on the plan with a series of successful trails workshops hosted throughout the region.

“We’re excited that this grant cements the next phase of work on the Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan,” says Dr Lenore Lyons, Executive Director of GSCORE.

“We’ve already been consulting with local stakeholders and held numerous workshops in the region. They have been a chance for trail users and interested groups to have their say on the future of trails. This feedback will help map the master plan.”

“A project like this will help increase domestic and international visitor numbers which in turn will benefit local business and grow jobs,” says Rick Wilson, Federal Member for O’Connor.

“Quality trails also get locals outdoors and active, which not only creates a connection to community but improves physical and mental health and ultimately puts less strain on our health system.”

The need for trails master planning is a local government priority in the Great Southern Regional Sport and Recreation Plan.

The first stage of the project is community consultation which will identify existing and planned trails, while Stage 2 will develop a list of priority projects and create structures for management and maintenance for the proposed infrastructure. A Trail Building Network will be established to ensure longevity in trails management.

GSCORE has also received Lotterywest funding and with matching funds from local government and state government agencies to deliver three fully scoped concept plans for future trails.

Request for Quote: Priority Trail Plans

June 6, 2019 | Category =
Hiking in the Stirling Ranges

We are currently requesting a proposal, including a price quotation, to develop and prepare priority trails plans for inclusion in the Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan (GSRTMP).

A consultant or consultants with appropriate experience and expertise is sought to undertake and deliver trail plans for one or more of the following seven (7) trail activities:

  • Great Southern MTB Trail Plan
  • Great Southern Hiking Trail Plan
  • Great Southern Bridle Trail Plan
  • Great Southern Trail Bike Trail Plan
  • Amazing South Coast Aquatic Trail Plan
  • Stirling Range & Hinterland Cycle Trail Plan
  • Great Southern Treasures Drive Trail Plan

The need for these trail plans has been identified through a detailed community consultation process. Each Trail Plan will incorporate existing trails and several short-listed priority trails. A detailed brief, including time frame and submission details is contained in the RFQ Brief and Addendum and FAQ issued 110619.

Sharing is caring on reserve trails

February 18, 2019 | Category =

The City of Albany’s reserves team has started a new initiative to help raise awareness of how users of trails at Sandpatch Reserve between the Windfarm and Mutton Bird Beach can share the area responsibly.

Supported by local horse riders in an aim to educate all trail users, a Reserve Information Station was set up for the first time last Sunday and staffed by local riders and reserves officers.

The Reserve Information Station informed drivers of the reserve rules including only permitting entry to fully licenced vehicles, all vehicles to remain on either formal roads or firebreaks, slowing down in the presence of other vehicles and safety when driving.

Horse riders are also encouraged to keep their horses under control at all times and to prevent them from grazing on native vegetation, whilst motorbike riders were asked to stay off trails assigned to horses and to reduce their speed when a horse is present.

City of Albany Manager of City Reserves Jacqui Freeman said it is important that users of the trail are respectful of each other.

“Sandpatch Reserve is so close to Albany it is very popular as a recreational area for many local residents and includes both the Bibbulmun Track and Stidwell Bridal Trail,” she said

The City of Albany has engaged a consultant to develop a Recreation Management Plan for the area, and is holding community workshops about the planning process next week.

Trail users and community members are encouraged to attend the workshops at Albany Equestrian Centre on Wednesday, February 20 and the City of Albany offices on Mercer Road on Thursday, February 21, with both meetings commencing at 5.30pm.

More information about the workshops is available from Reserves Officer Sandra Maciejewski on 6820 3960.

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

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