[5th World Trails Conference 2015] Trail Resuscitation and Restoration (1) | Western Australia | Trail revitalizing case study from Western Australia

 5th World Trails Conference 2015


Western Australia | Trail revitalizing case study from Western Australia

 Kerstin Stender –  Trails Coordinator, Bibbulmun Track / MundaBiddi Trail 

Thursday, January 15, 2015, Seogwipo ICC

Presentation Slides Download (PDF)

Thank you for inviting me here today. It is such a pleasure to speak to you all.

I am from Western Australia and work for the Department of Parks and Wildlife. I am the trails coordinator there so if you wish to come to Australia it is a very big country and the climate changes quite a lot, so make sure if you want to come hiking in Western Australia to come in autumn or spring-time.

I represent three long distance iconic trails, but I am also responsible for policy for another 600 trails in the state of Western Australia. The Bibbulmun Track and Cape to Cape Track are two walking trails and I will primarily talk about those. The Cape to Cape Track is a track that I am currently in a revitalizing program with so most of my examples will come from that, but because I am only halfway through I am also using examples from the other two trails [Munda Biddi is the third trail].

First I’ll give you some instructions on how to develop a framework and then we will look at organizational structures. Branding and signage. Trail infrastructure itself.


The trail development and revival process is essentially the same process as if you were developing something new or if you are making some major changes like major re-alignment or a major change to how the trail looks.

So some of the key elements of trail development and review process are the essential components to have what makes a trail a sustainable trail. And these are:

1) Long term appeal

2) Positive impact on the environment and heritage

3) Valued and supported by local community

4) Robust, durable and fit for purpose

5) Well managed and maintained

6) Acceptable to land managers

7) Complies with standards

The process you go through before commencing construction for me it takes about 3 quarters of the time for planning. So developing the proposal and setting up your framework and your framework includes a project outline. A key understanding of your project objectives, your stakeholders, your roles, your requirements, and execution. It also includes your management models so I guess it is really the key part of any new project but also any revision to any realignments you’re looking to do to ensure that you’re looking to build or maintain the right trail in the right place. You then move through to site assessment, concept planning, evaluation until you finally get to construction and management. But I think you often shortcut and not end up with the right trail in the right place.

Moving on now after the framework we need to look to see what are the key aspects of a chosen management model. These aspects I’ve identified here are things that every trail should consider to be a successful and sustainable trail.

Visitor Information, product is your trail and destination is your community environment. The roads, the accommodation, and transportation services. Marketing promotion, visitor management, infrastructure and community engagement. Without community support your trail is unlikely to survive.

So in Western Australia we tend to manage our trails through partnership between government and community not-for-profit organizations. I’m the government department.We have a MOU that sets out who is responsible for that, so really the visitor risk and infrastructure is primarily the responsibility of the government. The community engagement, the volunteer maintenance program and some of the visitor information tends to sit with the community partner.

Now moving on into the actual review. Signage is an essential aspect of any trail and provides added identification through naming and branding color and design. It directs visitors and aids them, aids in minimizing environmental impact. It also provides interpretation for cultural and environmental behavior codes.

These are the types of signs and I’ll take you through them very briefly. Before we do that though the first thing we do is for each trail we have we set up a signage prescription. The color, the design, the logo and the types of signs that we would use so that they are always the same and recognizable for that trail.

So for an example this is the logo we use for the Munda Biddi trail. The center piece is the logo that we use for the community partner. And on the right side you can actually see the logo that we have out in the field on the post. You can see the branding across all three of those.

On this example which is from my current review you can see the logo that we use on the left the community partner in the middle and the actual marker that you see out in the field on the right and you can see that they are different so what we want to do is have one kind of branding that goes across all of those. I have brought a marker to show you because the other thing that is good about markers is if they are directions. With that one there you can point to the direction of travel.

We use aluminium screen printing to make the trail markers last a very long time. So we don’t need to replace them more than every 10 years or more.

For walking trails we only mark every 500m if there is no turning off opportunity. The cycling trails we mark every 1000m because we don’t want too many signs out there. That is in our view sufficient. Continue reading “[5th World Trails Conference 2015] Trail Resuscitation and Restoration (1) | Western Australia | Trail revitalizing case study from Western Australia”