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Bibbulmun Track Survey 2003 A Survey Method for Long Tracks. By Annie Keating. Bibbulmun Track Research Project. Funding support for this research was provided by the Trails Grants Program administered by the Department of Sport & Recreation and supported by Lotterywest. Introduction.

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bibbulmun track research project
Bibbulmun Track Research Project

Funding support for this research was provided by

the Trails Grants Program administered by the

Department of Sport & Recreation


supported by Lotterywest

  • The Bibbulmun Track briefly
  • Survey method
  • Summary of results
  • Implications for management
965km length
  • 48 campsites
  • 9 towns
  • 148 maintenance sections
  • 8 maps
  • 2 guide books
  • Foundation with:
    • 300 volunteers
    • 2000 members
survey methodology
Survey Methodology
  • Overall objective
  • Aim of research project
  • Specific objectives
  • Research strategy
overall objective
Overall objective
  • To provide the Bibbulmun Track management, maintenance and marketing teams with the information required to assist strategic planning for the Track and to ensure its long term sustainability.
research aims
Research aims
  • To develop a methodology by which usage of the Bibbulmun Track and other long distance walking tracks could be reliably estimated.
  • Determine usage levels
  • Profile track users
  • Estimate economic benefits generated by track
research objectives
Research objectives
  • Estimate total number of track visits during a 12 month period (measured in “user days”)
  • Level of awareness in community of Bibbulmun Track
  • Frequency of usage of the tack
  • Intention to use the Track
  • Barriers / catalysts to use of the Track
  • Economic impact of the Track on local communities
survey strategy
Survey strategy
  • Walker survey
  • Community survey
  • Economic impact study
walker survey methodology
Walker Survey Methodology
  • Step 1: Break down track into sections
  • Step 2: Select survey (sampling) sites
  • Step 3: Develop questionnaire and observation record
  • Step 4: Schedule survey sessions
  • Step 5: Collect and analyse data
walker survey methodology step 1
Walker Survey Methodology – Step 1
  • Break the track down into sections with similar characteristics –
  • Classify each section according to the following identified classifications:
track classifications and their characteristics
Track classifications and their characteristics
  • Primary tourist sites (T-sites)Where Track passes through major tourist attractions
  • Secondary high use sites (H-sites)Popular Track access points with anecdotal high visitation rates
  • Through townships / population centres (P-sites) High, local, recreation usage
  • Long distance or remote sections (D-sites)Usually requires overnight walk to access
walker survey methodology step 2
Walker Survey Methodology – Step 2
  • Select typical sections in each class for observation
  • Sections chosen are evenly distributed along whole length of Track
    • 5 tourist section sites
    • 4 high use section sites
    • 4 town / population centre section sites
    • 3 long distance section sites
walker survey methodology step 21
Walker Survey Methodology – Step 2
  • 15 survey sites, distributed across the whole length of the Bibbulmun Track were chosen.
  • They included Albany Windfarm, Treetop Walk, Gloucester Tree, (T sites), 4 towns (P sites), 3 sites more than 1 day’s walk from vehicle access and 4 popular day walk and access sites.
walker survey methodology step 3
Walker Survey Methodology – Step 3

Develop questionnaire and observation record.

  • Volume tracking form – to record group size and composition, time, direction.
  • Questionnaire form – kept as short and simple as possible –double-sided A4 sheet.
walker survey methodology step 4
Walker Survey Methodology Step 4
  • Session schedule –
  • Conducted over 6 month period (Apr – Oct 2003)
  • One observation session per week scheduled
  • Each ‘time slot’ surveyed up to three times over 6 months
  • Weekly usage = (Saturday users)+(Sunday users)+[5x(weekday users)]
walker survey methodology step 5 data collection
Walker Survey Methodology Step 5 – Data collection
  • Volunteers assigned dates, times and locations according to session schedule
  • Intercept and user volume surveys conducted over 6 months by volunteers
  • 198 observation sessions conducted between April & October 2003
  • 295 interviews completed on Track supplemented by 58 from Foundation members
  • Pedestrian counter data collected and used to calibrate observational data
community phone survey
Community Phone Survey
  • 300 people surveyed in metro area
  • 100 surveyed from South West
  • Awareness of Track measured
  • Estimate number of people who have ever used Track
  • Phone survey not used to estimate annual usage figures
economic impact study
Economic Impact Study
  • Aimed to provide indicative data only
  • Two sources of data were;
    • Walker survey question about estimated spending on walk
    • Survey questionnaire posted to businesses along Track
  • Questionnaires completed by 44 businesses – small number provides qualitative rather than quantitative information.
bibbulmun track survey results
Bibbulmun Track Survey Results
  • Awareness of the Track
  • Track usage – users and visits
  • Patterns of usage
  • Who is walking the Track
  • User satisfaction
  • Economic impact
awareness of bibbulmun track
Awareness of Bibbulmun Track

83% of people in Perth and the South West have heard of the Bibbulmun Track

track usage number of visitor days
Track Usage - Number of visitor days

Estimated 280,000 visitor days per year

track usage duration of walks
Track Usage – Duration of walks
  • 280,000 user days per year
  • Average of 2.04 days per visit, equates to:
  • 137,250 visits to the Track each year
satisfaction with the track
Satisfaction with the Track

82% rated the Track 6 or 7 out of 7 in terms of how pleased they were with their walk.

economic impact of the track
Economic impact of the Track
  • Accommodation, equipment, meals, food supplies, fuel, other transport, maps and guidebooks = $21million per annum
economic impact business survey
Economic impact - Business Survey
  • Total of 44 businesses responded
  • Five influenced by Track for location
  • 1/3 earned 10% + of revenue from walkers
  • Three depended on Track

Conclusion - the Bibbulmun Track is a valuable component of the economy

bibbulmun track research implications for management
Bibbulmun Track Research – Implications for management
  • Predicted variations in usage between different areas is accurate.
  • Measured actual usage can be used in planning maintenance works programs.
  • Helps planning of management presence.
  • Enables planning of specialised maintenance requirements such as toilet replacement and capacity modifications.
  • Plan water tank replenishment etc.
  • Information helps plan strategies for illegal use.
bibbulmun track research implications for management1
Bibbulmun Track Research – Implications for management
  • 73% of Track in remoter sections with low usage.
  • Remote, wilderness experiences are maintained for walkers
  • Original intent and vision for Bibbulmun Track is thus maintained.
  • Future challenge to maintain balance between environmental and experiential sustainability and increased usage.
  • Figures indicate there is still plenty of capacity to do this.
bibbulmun track research implications for management2
Bibbulmun Track Research – Implications for management
  • Survey Question : How could the Bibbulmun Track best be improved?
  • Most common answer: 33% said -do nothing, leave it as it is, or don’t over-develop.
  • Prevention of incremental development in the face of pressures from increasing usage requires active management.
  • In order for it to appear that “Nothing has been done.” requires active management.
bibbulmun track research implications for management3
Bibbulmun Track Research – Implications for management
  • Figures indicate that despite high awareness levels only 1.32% of population actually use the track in any year.
  • Implications for this are:
    • Reassess and refine methods for measuring usage
    • Research motivators for translating Track awareness into Track usage
    • Investigate barriers to Track usage
    • Use results from above to develop new marketing strategies
bibbulmun track research implications for management4
Bibbulmun Track Research – Implications for management
  • Longer distance walkers spend more.
  • Distance walkers should be encouraged
  • Distance walkers spread impact across whole track
  • Distance walkers tend to make fewer trips to the track per year.
  • Boosts to regional economies could be gained by targeting distance walking market segment
  • Target converting day walkers to distance walkers
wrap up of research project
Wrap Up of Research Project
  • Methodology and tools developed can be adapted and used for most long tracks. In the long term the most valuable outcome from the project.
  • Results indicate that the Bibbulmun Track is receiving high usage and is well maintained and accepted by the general public.
  • Furthermore the Track is developing an interstate and international profile that needs to be further developed and marketed.
  • The methodology can be refined and adapted to meet future management needs and resources.
thank you
  • To dozens of Bibbulmun Track volunteers who worked tirelessly in a dozen different locations along the Track to conduct the intercept surveys. This project would not have been possible without them.