The South West Mountain Bike Master Plan is the first regional master plan to be developed out of the recommendations of the Western Australian Mountain Bike Strategy. Funded by the Department of Parks and Wildlife and a grant from Lotterywest, the Master Plan has been developed to help forge a path for one of the world’s fastest growing recreational and tourism activities.
Prepared by Margaret River-based trails planning consultant Common Ground Trails on behalf of WestCycle in partnership with the departments of Sport and Recreation and Parks and Wildlife, the West Australian Mountain Bike Association (WAMBA) and representatives from the mountain bike community, the Master Plan covers the south west of the state from Bunbury down to Pemberton.
Department of Sport and Recreation Director General Ron Alexander said the plan identified the south-west area as a significant mountain biking hotspot and encouraged all Western Australians to have their say in the future planning for this recreational activity.
“Nineteen per cent of all Western Australians own mountain bikes and more than 50 competitive events take place annually,” Mr Alexander said. “By supporting and participating in this master plan, we can support the growth and diversification of tourism and generate economic, social and active outcomes for regional communities.”
Department of Parks and Wildlife Director General Jim Sharp said the plan complements the department’s objectives to encourage people to access and explore the State’s national parks and conservation reserves.
“The Munda Biddi bike trail is one of our most popular attractions and we are keen to work with the community to develop other mountain biking opportunities to ensure the future of this recreational and tourism experience in WA,” he said.
WestCycle CEO Clint Shaw said the Master Plan prioritised a network of areas where high-quality, sustainable and accessible mountain bike facilities could be developed.
“It recommends the development of three nationally-significant locations in Margaret River, Wellington and Pemberton and two regionally-significant locations in Dunsborough and Nannup,” he said.
The Master Plan fits perfectly under the Western Australian Mountain Bike Strategy which lays out the future vision for mountain biking in the State as a leading recreational and tourism experience by delivering opportunities, maximising participation and sharing the benefits.
WAMBA President Louise Wallace said the Master Plan recommends the creation of a body to oversee all mountain bike development in the South West and that local trail planning then is undertaken to deliver the trails.
“We’re excited that this plan will bring together so many aspects of our industry for a common goal, which is to further enhance the reputation of mountain bike riding in not only Western Australia, but Australia and the rest of the world.”
The plan was drafted in consultation with key stakeholders including local mountain bike clubs and groups, government departments and local government authorities, private land owners, tourism bodies, South West Development Commission, commercial operators and event coordinators.
Work around the plan also included on-ground audits of existing trails and potential locations and also assessments of trail demand, which included a survey of more than 750 mountain bikers.
Interested organisations and individuals are invited to comment on the draft Master Plan through this survey. Submissions must be made by 5pm on 04 November 2014.