Great Rides Trail Project
August 10th, 2012
Encourage recreational trail use as an economic driver of the communities and a contributor to the well-being of residents and the visitors to the Coast.
- To bring together all the stakeholders (landowners & managers, politicians, industry and interest groups) for an information engagement meeting to discuss the concept and to determine the needs and wants of various groups in regard to active, healthy tourism projects such as shared trails.
Please note: This proposed trail system has not been planned in detail; it is at the pre-feasibility stage. We only endeavour to impart some of the concept vision of what an Epic touring trail could be, to you the stakeholder.
- Create an understanding of the opportunities for active recreation and how to develop value added commerce out of trails. A linkage system across the entire Sunshine Coast Hinterland region with trail heads at the townships would ensure the “trail business” is taken seriously. This is similar to previously proposed trails, with more inclusive shared trails and a larger demographic and draw aimed at communities and future commerce along the routes.
- The need to connect communities though recreational threads, the benefits of health and family connections through active recreation have never been more obvious from a health perspective.
- Establish a working group or steering committee made up of various interest groups and managers from the industry and business sector, users and land managers, to progress the project forward, encourage capacity building at a local level.
This concept is a long term project with the trail planning and design to be done in the first and second stages. In fact, rough ground truthing has been taking place over the years, but in earnest during the last twelve months. GPX file mapping is now giving us rough but indicative desire lines for trail routing and options.
An objective of this trail system is to enable any user to enjoy a series of different environments and sections that could be travelled one at a time or as a link to the next hinterland township. Some would be multi-use, others shared-use, some with loops and others with big ascents. Each ride day is creating totally different vistas and environments and finishing in a different trail town each evening. The commercial hospitality operators will feel the downstream flow-on from this demographic. Rather than camping most like to indulge in a few “luxuries” like a nice spa and dinners out in a trail township. Albeit some would prefer to camp (shuttle service for user’s luggage is another commercial option). The “Glamping” camp alternative is also a commercial venture opportunity in more remote areas, rather mobile, this is a seasonal option and functions well to groups of hikers or riders. Most points along the trail allow for “escape routes” to railway towns for shorter routes or day trippers
The Proposed Route Overall is 60% existing road easements and trails, 10% existing closed or prohibited areas and 30% new trail. A family friendly trail system is proposed for the first section. The following trail sections could be staged over a number of years.
Glasshouse Mountains Trail Head – Beerburrum to Maleny Area – 40km. The first of many B&Bs can be found in the Peachester/Crohamhurst area (a distance of 25Km for those not able to do the last climb up to Maleny, with an option for an escape route to Glasshouse Township-TRAIN STOP), or back to the Glasshouse loop trail-35KM. This is an ideal novice trail area. Combine the experience of the indigenous historic culture and scenic value into a day loop of this existing iconic landscape. Also this is the most “family friendly” of the five routes. This is a logical project pilot area as it is 75% usable within the current trail networks.
Maleny to Kenilworth – via Curramore/ Maleny Forest, Cambroon, Kenilworth forest reserve – 55 km (no escape route). A one hour descent makes this section a bit easier to start the day. Options could include day rides in Kenilworth Forest and Cambroon (private mountain Bike Park).
Kenilworth to Mapleton – 30km via Coolabine/Delica Road/ Mapleton Forest. Ascent stage (option to escape Belli-Eumundi-Train stop or Mapleton-Nambour Rd. or River Rd. – Kurellpa /Image flat -Nambour).
Mapleton to Belli-West Cooroy-Cooroy or alternatively North Arm-Eumundi – 45km via Mapleton Forest /Cooloolabin Dam (option novice day loop) /Buckby Rd. /Point Glorious Lookout, North Arm, Hidden Valley Road /Seib Rd. (Eumundi Conservation Park). Options could include food and farm taster trails.
Eumundi to Kin Kin – 45-65 km via Cooroy (old rail line) Pomona/ Cooran /Noosa being an existing trail network. Alternatively Cooroy-Pomona to Traveston/Mothar Mt. /Kin Kin/Toolara Forest/Cooloola/ Rainbow Beach (90Km).
The motivation to provide touring trail assets must come from trail users, industry and government, all the while considering land management issues. Long term tourism business opportunities within an active recreational context are not catered for in this region. The potential is all around us, we have active tourism being promoted in all the studies and media yet very little product actually exist to date locally. Therefore to compete in this market area we require support structures to maximize success.
The project leadership team
One club alone is unlikely to progress the project beyond this point. Is it desirable to embrace this initiative with partners, an alliance group, a collaborative group of user groups and Government stakeholders?
Develop an enterprise, an eco adventure brand, training for trail teams, handicap adaptive sport programs, boot camps, guiding, hosts, hospitality shuttles, smart phone trail apps, farm and food trails, guide books, industry philanthropy, adopt a trail program, Spro-kids programs, eco-tourism certification, fundraisers to establish a project support fund, grant buddies.
Where to from here?
We would like to continue moving this project forward with you and your team (Department/Club/Chamber) and also seek your input and feedback. The plans are already in legislation that backs the overarching concepts. Can these be acted on?
- Cycle promotion fund
- Toward Q2 2008
- DIGP/ S.E. Qld. trails strategy (2007)
- The Sunshine Cost Hinterland Nature Based Tourism plan
- SCRC Tourism Opportunity Plan 2009
- S.E. Qld. Outdoor recreation Strategy (2010)
A great deal of modelling work has already been done by other groups such as:
- T.I.M.B.A . in North Queensland, Tablelands Futures Corporation Inc. in partnership with Tablelands Sport and Recreation Association & Tablelands Integrated Mountain Bike Alliance
- NZ Cycle Project
- S.A. Trail Alliance
- Gap Creek Alliance
- IMBA Australia
So, let’s not re invent the wheel, just find the right fit (a workable methodology) and progress to an “end goal” by the end of this decade.
The potential to realize a positive recreational outcome is with us now. Create a recreational experience at the lowest possible cost to the public in the shortest amount of time. A motion to draft a Memorandum of Understanding between these groups would be a positive step forward in the weeks or months to follow.
Benefits of this project
Improving quality of life
Health and well-being is a concern with our country quickly descending into a sedentary state of ill health, along with rising stress level of modern lifestyles. Let’s make it fun to stay healthy and de stress with endorphins not drugs.
Creating assets for communities
A world class Epic trail would ensure economic spin off for struggling hinterland townships in the recreation and hospitality sectors and create ongoing business opportunities from an active demographic.
Creating Tourism Products
One aim is to create tourism stimulus for industry, not unlike the marine dive sites on the Coast. Create sustainable shared-trails that are scenic and natural, and experiences to inspire across generations. We already have some world class iconic areas on this coast. Let’s aim for a recognizable adventure precincts in our hinterland. Natural-terrain experiences for all ages.
Studies state: “NZ Market research has shown that international cycle tourists spend 1.5 times as much per trip compared with the average international visitor, stay twice as long and visit twice as many destinations”.
The opportunities to enhance the environmental, social and economic interests for the public land owners. Mandate no “net loss” of historic recreation use during tenure reallocation. Utilizing IMBA standard trails that are sustainable, build the best trails possible. Encourage trail stewardship through trail-care partners and adopt-a-trail programs to ensure the future maintenance of completed assets.
Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have
Sunshine Coast Daily – Off-road bike trail plan