Local Trails Responsibility Managing lands for trails contingent on … • Demonstrable demand • Measurable & reviewable risk assessment • Sustainable containment of risk • Resource supply longevity • Community support for the ‘long haul’
Sensitive Setting • Environmentally & Culturally • Clean drinking water for Plains dwellers • A Region worth visiting ~ Tourism • Great place to bring up the kids • Let’s enjoy … • And be sensible how we do all this …
Risky Spaghetti • Sustainable = rational risk management • Trails & informal tracks (routes) in the Hills • Myriad of high profile (Mawson, Heysen, Tom Roberts, Mt Lofty, Women’s Pioneer, Yurrebilla) trails • Interconnecting plethora of local routes that need rationalizing in a responsible manner within an atmosphere of … clinical assessment & cool negotiation
Adelaide Hills Council ~ Strategic Direction Trail management … fits Council’s strategic direction • Socially responsible • Environmentally sustainable • Economically sound and the Mission that … • encourages Leadership • empowers Community spirit • within responsible Service provision
Adelaide Hills Council Spaghetti of Existing Trails & Road Reserves
The Long Paddock Council’s 700 km2 …Interconnects with • 1/3 State Nature Reserves • 1/3 Primary Production • 1/3 Residential and Commercial development Council manages … • 450 land parcels (Reserves) (350 ha) • Some 1500 km x 20m Road Reserves of … Made (maintained) roadways incl. road verges Unmade (no roadway) open linear corridor
Passive Use Within such an Environmentally sensitive watershed Legislation & regulation directs … • Passive recreational trail possible PROVIDED … • Catchment not compromised • Provision of sustainable wildlife corridors • Retention / enhancement of native vegetation • Dreaming trail prescription site protection • Public safety is not jeopardised
Paradigms are often inclusive Compatible ~ Recreation & Ecosystem demands • Considerable effort … but both land uses possible within triple bottom line philosophy • Sometimes environmental / cultural /social paradigms are so outstanding … NO contest!
Trail Determinations Council policy dictates … Trails may either be … • Established • Refurbished or • Closed (redirected resource allocation) In the regional context Council seeks to … • Enhance value to the community of its holdings ... by utilising compatible multiple purposes
The Balancing Act Council’s challenge is to … • maintain safe trail facilities • within a balanced paradigm that is … environmentally sensitive culturally appropriate socially acceptable resource friendly • be accountable to its community
Measured Accountability Risks addressed … • Aboriginal site / dreaming trail sensitivity • Native plant associations & species diversity • Habitat sustainability • Ground cover stability and soil friability • Water quality retention and ecological flows • Ecological structural integrity • Interested party support … within an atmosphere of frugal business acuity
The Environment & Trails too … • everyone … take on a responsibility! • Council seeks to enhance our living environment, long term (300 years?) … all (good and reasonable) parcels and road reserve stands to remain contiguous all stable and sensitive sites to be retained in current stance to exclusion of other needs lesser quality corridors retained for trail enhancement &/or development
To date … Council linear corridors assessed for … • Recreational trail potential • Farming & access leasehold demand • Traditional owner cultural significance • Conservation value incl. soil & water So we can enhance … Aesthetic appeal Cultural value, and sheer Exhilaration of being there
But how … Sustainability Rating … • Recreation Risk Rating Counterbalanced against • Conservation Rating
The Recreation Risk Rating Categories & type of user assessed … • Level of interconnectivity (National, regional or local trail demand) • Risk ratings: AUS standard and Corridor width Pathogens (eg Phytophthora) Livestock access and soil stability Bushfire threat (fuel load) Waterway impact Natural Landscape value Culturally significant?
Conservation Rating Natural stands of native vegetation, fauna habitat and associated ecological features assessed … • Threatened species • Canopy cover • Understorey status • Habitat integrity • Weed invasion • Mechanical damage • Management strategy
Sustainability Measured … Ratings … A Extreme Risk – No trail; No leasing B High Risk – No leasing; local walking only (unless Phytophthora risk high = no trail) C High Risk – Short term leasing; Local & Regional (walk & ride) trails only D Moderate Risk – Leasing; all trails and trail uses permitted; opportunity to rehabilitate site E Low risk – Leasing; not suitable to resource as a trail nor for rehabilitation
Implications … Uses and impacts may clash with priority on sensitivity in the local community of … • Flora • Fauna • Soil and water • Culture and • Human settlement and visitation Now & into the future is paramount target!
Reality Check Of all routes assessed … • considerable number unacceptable for trails use • justified through holistic yet objective criteria • Acceptable routes well reasoned options • Suitable alternatives for projected demands • ‘human’ community reasonableness sounded out
Local Trails Guaranteed Because threatening processes evaluated … • Many local trails will now be retained • Some routes will be extended • Unsustainable ones to be decommissioned or not contemplated • Alternative uses (eg conservation, social adjuncts, economic return) under consideration
Logic reigns Method of determining a Sustainability Rating … • Appears to be equitable across all routes • Incorporates the precautionary principle (of environmental & cultural protection) • Accounts for resource allocation process in addressing … Potential status of trail - National, Regional, Local Type of trail (walk &/or ride) Level of longterm support to maintain the route at AUS standard
Strategic Trails Management ~ is workable, provided it addresses essentials of responsible land stewardship