Award of Excellence – Margaret River ‘Unbeaten Tracks’ Connecting the Capes Trails Master Plan

By Belinda 27/06/2022

 

The Margaret River Unbeaten Tracks ‘Connecting the Capes’ Trails Master Plan has been awarded the ‘Best Regional/Rural Industry Contribution Award’ at the Parks and Leisure Australia WA Awards of Excellence. The Trails Master Plan highlights the opportunity for the Capes Region’s interconnected trail network through a collaborative, cross-tenure and actionable approach for the benefit of the region’s community, environment and economy. The project was delivered by Tredwell for the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, in collaboration with the 16 organisations which are represented on the Unbeaten Tracks Roundtable.

Parks and Leisure WA Awards of Excellence Evening, 12 May 2022, Ambrose Estate

The Capes Region (also commonly referred to as the Leeuwin Naturaliste Region, the Margaret River Wine Region and the Margaret River Tourism Region) is renowned internationally for its pristine natural environments, coastline, wine industry and tourism offerings. From stunning beaches to spectacular Karri forests and ancient caves, it is recognised for its diverse landscapes and high levels of biodiversity. Increasing resident populations and visitor numbers seeking place major pressure on the environment and conservation estate, amplifying the need for provision of sustainable ways for the natural environment to be explored whilst simultaneously being protected.

Trails and natural areas are an integral component of the lifestyle on offer across the region and are a key drawcard for visitors. Spending time in the Capes Region offers the opportunity to establish a connection with the natural environment, surrounded by spectacular coastline and forest. A framework structure of Key Trails exists across various land tenures, with varied management structures and funding sources. While the Key Trails provide a variety of experiences, they are not integrated as a cohesive network, and are in various states of disrepair or are incomplete.

The region includes the traditional lands of the Wadandi people and the Pibelman/Bibbulman people, who have inhabited the area for many thousands of years and maintain a continuing and deep spiritual connection to land, waters and culture, as recognised in the South West Native Title Settlement. The Unbeaten Tracks Round Table seek to work in partnership with the Traditional Owners of the lands on which the trails are located, to recognise the history and culture and to ensure preservation of significant sites.

The communities and economies of the Capes Region are reliant on the preservation of the unspoilt natural environment, while maintaining and promoting sustainable ways to explore. With a regional approach and increased investment, the Unbeaten Tracks offer incredible potential as an iconic, cohesive and interconnected trails network incorporating benefits across the triple bottom line with positive environmental, economic and social outcomes.

The enhanced regional trails network will enable people to ‘escape crowds’ and reconnect with the natural environment in a more curated manner which to ensures that visitation is sustainable and does not lose the basis of its appeal. The trails will be developed to ensure provision of true nature-based experiences which are distinct from urban activities.

 

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