Australian-first Hiking Strategy to boost bushwalking, trail running in WA

Photo: Supplied.
Photo: Supplied.

With restrictions in full force during April and May, West Aussies headed outdoors in record numbers for fresh air and a day of hiking.

Trails across the state experienced levels of participation over the last few months never seen before.

In an effort to ensure locals continue to enjoy the great outdoors in a safe and sustainable way, the state government has released a long-term Hiking Strategy.

The 10-year plan is the first of its kind in Australia and aims to increase participation, tourism and Aboriginal engagement, as well as sustain the boom in traditional bushwalking and trail running.

Over the next three years, $250,000 will be spent on the strategy which will complement other trails across WA including mountain biking and horse trails.

Sport and Recreation Minister Mick Murray said it would help to guide the funding and development of trails over the next decade.

"It is crucial Western Australians continue to get outdoors and enjoy what our state has to offer in terms of nature experiences," he said.

"There has never been a better time to launch this strategy, now that COVID-19 restrictions are easing.

"Our hiking trails experienced record levels of participation over April and May and we want to make sure Western Australians continue to enjoy hiking and trail running.

"We look to our tourism partners to also contribute to the implementation of this strategy to create jobs and grow regional prosperity."

Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said West Aussies were lucky to have so many world-class national parks on their doorstep.

"I want Western Australians to get out and see our stunning landscapes and recreational walking is a fantastic way for people to immerse themselves in the natural environment," he said.

"This 10-year strategy will help guide government investment and lead to stronger community development and economic outcomes - including regional development and job creation - throughout the state."

The strategy was developed by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, along with significant community input.

As part of the WA Hiking Strategy, a Hiking Implementation Reference Group has been formed to prioritise initiatives and guide its implementation.