On June 4 several countries celebrate a National Trails Day. The American Hiking Society has been celebrating a National Trails Day in the USA on the second Saturday in June since 1992. The 16 National Trails that constitute a large proportion of trails in the United Kingdom celebrate International Trails Day on the second Saturday in June as well. They also schedule fundraising events for volunteers who help look after the trails.
Being the start of our winter walking season, it seems appropriate that Western Australia celebrate World Trails Day on the Western Australia Day long weekend, celebrated annually on the first Saturday in June.
Led by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) Western Australia has embarked on a trail building blitz from the Great Southern all the way up to the Kimberley. Funding has come from the State Government through the $5.5 billion WA Recovery Plan, from Commonwealth Government funded grants, Local Government Authorities (LGA’s) and through DBCA internal funding.
DBCA and its project partners have created new trail networks near regional centres like Dwellingup, Collie, Margaret River and soon to be Walpole. Mountain Bike Trail networks like the Goat Farm, have also been built in the Perth Hills in close proximity to larger mountain biking populations. New networks have been constructed in Nannup and Margaret River with more planned for Mt Barker and at the Valley of the Giants in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park. Existing hiking trails across the state have seen upgrades like the Bald Head walk trail near Albany, and Castle Rock and Nancy’s Peak. in the Porongurup range.
There are some unique projects under way currently, including some trail development in the Kimberley working closely with the traditional owners, and a Paddle Trail in the Kapagup-Nornalup Inlets National Park which will allow paddle trail users to explore the inlets as well as the Frankland and Deep rivers.
Our first national park in Western Australia, the John Forest National Park, is currently receiving a major face lift with new family-friendly picnic grounds and a series of walk and mountain bike trails to compliment the existing trails.
Western Australia has two long distance trails that are envy of trail enthusiasts around the world. For hikers there is the Bibbulmun Track, at 1003km long and 49 campsites complete with rustic 3-sided camp shelters, water tanks, toilets and tent pads. It also traverses through nine regional towns bringing in hikers who contribute to the local economy: on accommodation, hospitality, food and beverage and other services. For more detailed information visit the Bibbulmun Track Foundation.
For mountain bikers or long-distance cyclists there is the Munda Biddi Trail. Paralleling the Bibbulmun for 1000km through the forests from Perth to Albany, the Munda Biddi has 12 purpose-built campsites with water tanks, toilets, tent pads and passes through 16 towns or regional communities. For more information visit the Munda Biddi Foundation.
DBCA recognises that trails are significant tourist attractions bringing people from all over WA, the east coast and world to experience our unique and precious natural environment.
In the last financial year alone, $1 million has been allocated through funding sources for enhanced maintenance and upgrades to eight Bibbulmun Track campsites, plus sections of trail and a new group campsite. This sees DBCA working closely with the two long trail community organisations and other stakeholders to inform maintenance and marketing priorities.
DBCA has also worked very closely with the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) to develop a one-stop website for all information pertaining to trails in Western Australia. Trails WA is
the place to visit for trail-users trying to get detailed information about walk trails, mountain bike trails, cycle trails, paddle trails, snorkel trails, equestrian trails, 2-wheel drive trails and 4-whell drive trails. Trail users can even filter for dog friendly trails or wheelchair friendly trails.
One of the most important aspects of trail building in WA has been development of the ‘Eight Stage Trail Development Process’ and mountain bike guidelines which must be followed when developing new trails. This takes into consideration the impacts on flora and fauna, and the wishes of the traditional owners of the land through which the trail passes, ensuring sustainable trails means developing the right trails, in the right places, the right way and for the right reasons. Ultimately, delivering good quality trails for the community.
Our quality built, sustainable, well-maintained trails allow users to visit some of the most beautiful, pristine and natural places in the world.
At the close of the 6th World Trails Conference in Tottori, held in Japan in 2016, delegates of the conference from over 26 different countries signed a declaration to encourage the United Nations to establish a World Trails Day to celebrate and recognise the value of trails.
The World Trails Conference – Tottori Accord, stated the following:
We the undersigned are a global trails community and share a voice for trails, as dedicated trail users, trail operators, trail associations, trail managers and trail supporters. We represent trails from countries across the world and call for the recognition for the role trails play in:
We herewith call for the establishment of an internationally recognized World Trails Day by the General Assembly of the United Nations to celebrate the unique collective values trails offer the global community of humankind.
We acknowledge the Aboriginal people of Western Australia as the Traditional Owners of the land through which these trails pass.
© Trails WA Projects 2022