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On Nature's Trail (continued from "concept" page)
A regional Plan for Townsville Trails, January 2002


Townsville Trails Thoughts/Strategy:


Critical future trail opportunities will probably be lost unless rights of access are maintained. e.g.

  • Hervey Range Railway.
  • Old stock route river access watering holes, retain for public vehicle based camping.


Trails at best will get marginal funding. Do much with volunteers, users and others and perhaps managing natural assets will be better understood.


Years of experience in any field cannot readily be communicated to others. Skilled committees will respect, know how to find, and delegate to those experienced in practical "conservation of biodiversity".


Motorised trail organisations have excellent ethics and might assist with weed control, maintenance or inspections on trails with vehicle access maintenance capability.

  • 4WD clubs may assist with tasks like clearing fallen trees.
  • If no damage is done why not have motorised trail club trips once every two years?
  • Associations may help motorised clubs get access to their own trails, and assist with control of motorised users who damage priority natural assets.


Enthusiastic people are working already on non-motorised trails

  • Exercise trails on Mt Stuart and longer trails from Wulguru to the summit reserve.
  • Trail planning for the Pinnacles is commencing.
  • 12 months of trail assessment bushwalks are proposed for Hervey to Paluma Range.


It is proposed that the Great Walks committee (6 months old) continue as before, but also act as a nucleus for a Townsville region trails steering committee. Delegate to enthusiastic people when available and discuss matters in committee only when worthwhile, e.g. once a year. Readily commence new initiatives between meetings.

  • Great Walks Committee Members:
  • Townsville Bushwalking Club
  • Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS)
  • Great Walks (North Queensland, part of QPWS)
  • Thuringowa City Council
  • Dry Tropics Biodiversity Group Inc. (community group)
  • Others are free to join, e.g.
  • Rockwheelers Mountain Bike Club
  • Townsville 4WD club
  • Roving Around 4X4 club
  • Motorbike Club
  • Urban Exercise Clubs
  • Trail Land Managers
  • Townsville City Council



From: InnovativeTrailsColorado




• Each project includes a grassroots support effort with enthusiastic people and agencies.

• The projects have a clear plan that illustrates what the individual/group would like to do and how they intend to achieve their desired goals.

• Partnerships exist and each partner has a defined role and many of the partners carry out their roles.

• There is access to funding and some knowledge of how long term maintenance and management will occur.


Major Criteria For a Quality Project

• The trail system is sensitive to both natural and cultural resources.

• The trail system is economically sustainable.

• The trail system is a reflection of social responsibility and enhances the community, region, state, and/or country.


Criteria for Successful Trail System Development

• The system must be well planned, including phasing, long term maintenance, and funding.

• The system clearly connects Point A to Point B and usually connects numerous points in-between.

• The trail system has a clear identity with a definitive name that attracts people and defines the trail’s focus.

• The trail system is well signed, often with a special identity signage program.

• A well designed and attractive map is readily available at numerous locations.

• Interpretation is provided (e.g., ranges from simple explanation on maps or at trailheads to more formal wayside exhibits or even visitor centers)

• Support service systems are available. This can range from highly sophisticated to primitive (e.g., trailheads, restrooms, campgrounds, lodging, restaurants, supply shops). Many of the most successful link to towns where diverse services are provided.

• Unique support systems are often provided (e.g., special related events, bus service to special trail areas, food service at the lodge, baggage transport service, lodging reservation services, special interpretive programs, tours).


Trail System Categories

Please realize most of the trail systems listed in the discussion (see elsewhere) would fit well under all the categories listed below. However, certain trail systems are fitted into a specific category to help illustrate specific points.

1. Planning

2. Regional Linkage Trails/Multi-Entity/Partnerships

3. Resource Focus/Education/Interpretation

4. Maintenance/Monitoring/Management


On Nature's Trail (continued from "concept" page)
A regional Plan for Townsville Trails, January 2002

The following is based on: A Statewide Strategic Plan for Colorado Trails, January 2000


Specifically, the Steering Committee has outlined trail initiatives to help target resources and achieve the goals of this strategic plan. These initiatives are:


New Trail Grant Initiatives

1 Reinvestment Initiative-- Existing trail improvements and repairs.
2 Trail Planning and Capacity Building Grants-- Planning and building partnerships for the future.
3 Small Grants-- Sometimes a little funding can make a big difference.

A. Develop a love of the outdoors

Outdoor activities are important to the quality of life.

Trails are the principal means used by people to get into nature and, at the same time, they are an important means for managing people's impacts on the landscapes they visit.


Townsville's diverse trails can be used for many types of recreation, from backcountry hiking to exercise trails or strolling an urban greenway, from mountain biking to horseback riding and from bird watching to using off-highway vehicles, such as all-terrain vehicles. With all of these forms of recreation Townsville residents will seek ways of enjoying nature or spending time outdoors with family and friends.


Townsville region potential trail opportunities abound

In large part this is made possible by our region's wide ranging landscapes, from vast open inland plains to many kilometers of rainforest along the top of coastal ranges, from many kilometers of coastlines backed by internationally renown wetlands, many islands and the Great Barrier Reef.


The potential richness of trails can also accommodate the diverse kinds of people who have chosen to make Townsville their home (or vacation destination) and the varied ways they choose to enjoy the outdoors.

Land ownership is another major factor contributing to the potential trail diversity. The state government owns most of our coastal ranges. There is potential for other recreation facilities.

National Parks, especially on Magnetic Island, are an important trail provider.


A few nonprofit organizations and clubs, including those made up of off-highway vehicle, are taking fledgling roles in developing and maintaining trails on their own lands or on lands owned by others.


Private landowners are also important potential contributors to the regional trail system by allowing trail users to cross their land.

The potential network of trails includes:

(……………… shows the current and proposed status……….)


How trails can be funded and built

Creating trails, as with other public facilities, will depend on an erratic supply of funding from a variety of programs and agencies. Trails activists must turn to volunteers and businesses for important contributions in getting trails built. City Councils are building urban trails as part of residential developments.


The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service administers State Forests and National Parks in the region and hope to use available funds to promote sharing of trail construction costs with local communities. This agency could provide technical assistance related to trail building. They also administer funds from the State Government's "Great Trails" Program.


The Department of Natural Resources administers unallocated state lands.


The Department of Sports and Recreation administers increasingly popular outdoor recreation activities including trails.


With this funding and community support comes the responsibility for the Townsville Trail managers to make the wisest and most efficient uses of all resources for recreationists.

Table 1: Levels of funding (The Great Trails Program) has increased for the next 5 years.

Fiscal Year

State Forests

National Parks

Local Govts.



OHV Registration

Annual total



















































B. How this strategic plan was developed

Late in 2001, the Great Walks Program initiated a Townsville Region planning process to develop a strategic framework for making decisions about what trail priorities to pursue and how best to fund them. Simultaneously the Dry Tropics Biodiversity Group was planning natural asset trails. That process resulted in the plan you are now reading.

A preliminary citizen Steering Committee is proposed comprising stakeholders, Councils, land managers, Mountain Bike and bushwalking clubs, the Dry Tropics Biodiversity Group members and others.

Doug Silke, the steering committee's volunteer research officer, consulted with local experts and assisted with the crafting of this white paper.


C. What the public possibly think about trails

The issues and concerns that the strategic plan responds for now are guessed (based on Colorado's). The broadest, more frequent themes are thought to be:


D. Other current trends and observations

Additional insights needed in planning strategies for a statewide trail system are guessed (based on Colorado’s). These insights included:

E. Vision Statement for State Trails and Mission Statement for State Trails Program


Key elements of the vision for a regional trail system:


Mission for the Townsville Trails Steering Committee

To catalyse action and encourage the public support required to accomplishing this vision. To promote understanding and stewardship of Townsville Region outdoors by providing opportunities for the public to use and support a diverse system of regional trails.

F. Strategies for implementing the vision (guessed, a white paper for consideration)

The vision is very ambitious and will require strategic actions and considerable cooperation.

To focus efforts, the vision has been translated into seven strategic goals (not in any priority order):

The role of the Townsville Trails Steering Committee

The Townsville Trails Steering Committee is committed to playing a major role in achieving the vision and implementing these strategic goals. They invite collaborators. Committee members or their researchers have identified the steps that are best taken by the Trails Program. These are outlined in the following tables. Other agencies and organizations are invited to help implement these steps, as well as develop their own strategies.

LEADERSHIP GOAL. Provide leadership in developing an integrated North Queensland trail system to meet the growing needs of our residents and visitors.


Possible Action Strategies

1. Provide trails leadership and start a trails community. Advise the Great Walks of North Queensland on regional trail related issues.

  • Plan and commence implementation of the Pinnacles Trail.
  • Assess routes, Harvey Range to Paluma
  • Report annually on progress.

2. Balance trail development priorities among urban, rural, and backcountry areas while taking into account user preferences for a variety of trail activities and trail types so a diverse, integrated trail system slowly develops.

  • Investigate available grants that meets the needs of the region.
  • Identify gaps in trails systems and grant guidelines.
  • Encourage trails that meet the needs of a diverse population, including those who are physically challenged.
  • See Objective 1 under the Planning goal.

3. Provide regional leadership to help coordinate and enhance diverse trails efforts.

  • Establish a Regional Trail Coordinator position.
  • Adopt an annual work program for the Trail Committee that highlights leadership activities for each year.
  • Support the dedication of trail easements on appropriate open space projects.

4. Find and implement expert advice: technical assistance concerning trail planning, design, construction, maintenance and management to enhance the quality of such efforts.

  • Promote a guide on "How to Develop Trails" for local governments and other organizations.
  • Provide specialised training for key individuals.

5. Encourage public input on trail plans and projects in response to the desires of the broader citizenry.

  • Work to ensure transparent grant selection processes that are fair and public process.
  • Ensure public input in grant selection process.
  • Assess available surveys and other public preference investigations.
  • Encourage participation in local, council and region trail planning.

PLANNING GOAL. Encourage community, council, state, and national trail planning of an integrated statewide trail system that preserves critical trail access points, corridors, and system links.


Possible Action Strategies

1. Create a trail planning and capacity building grants program to foster sound trail planning.

  • Determine regional trail needs and priorities.
  • Support local and community planning as part of an integrated statewide trail system.

2. Encourage local communities, councils, and state government agencies to complete trail plans, especially in cooperation with conservation or general land-use planning, so trails are built within a broader planning framework

  • Identify and adopt criteria in the trail planning grants program that supports the completion of trail plans developed in conjunction with conservation or general land-use planning.
  • Complete a federal lands trail needs assessment.
  • Adopt criteria in all trail grant applications giving credit for good trail planning.
  • Work with transportation planners.
  • Encourage trail connectivity and linkages.

3. Integrate the needs of all trail users in recognition of a "family of uses," each of which deserves appropriate places to enjoy our state's trails.

  • Integrate the needs of non-motorized, Off Highway Vehicles (OHV), and other trail users into overall program goals.
  • Be general trails advocates, not spoke-persons for specific trail uses.
  • Use subcommittee structure to encourage user group input.
  • Inventory and map trails.
  • Develop a long-range OHV plan.

4. Plan and design trails to be sustainable.

  • Fund sustainable trail projects.
  • Encourage the use of up-to-date trail design standards.
  • Encourage the use of sustainable construction materials.
  • Identify which factors improve and promote trail sustainability.
  • Monitor and evaluate trail projects to determine level of sustainability.
  • Support major improvements and repairs in an effort to bring aging trails up to standard.
  • Literature search and seek expert advice on trail sustainability.

5. Address user-conflicts through appropriate trail planning, design, and management.

  • Encourage trail planning and design which takes into account the specific needs of each mode of travel.
  • Encourage trail monitoring to determine potential user conflicts before incidents occur.
  • Encourage the use of consistent trail signing.
  • Help provide adequate trail opportunities for all enthusiasts.

ENVIRONMENT GOAL. Promote environmentally appropriate trail planning, design, construction, and management.


Possible Action Strategies

1. Support only environmentally appropriate trail projects to ensure trails do not degrade our public lands.

  • Determine trails project environmental criteria.
  • Have all projects reviewed by an environmental review panel.
  • Provide information and case studies on environmentally sensitive trail development.

2. Support trail planning and management activities that view trails in a broader landscape perspective, and thereby help ensure trail alignments that are well suited to their natural settings.

  • Work with land managers to encourage trail planning that is sensitive to broader ecological concerns.
  • Monitor and evaluate completed trail projects.
  • See objective 2 under the Leadership goal.

3. Seek information and expert advice that lead to broader understanding of how trails impact our environment.

  • Seek input from scientists and environmental professionals.
  • Compile information on trail related impacts.
  • Work with the QPWS in an effort to understand better how trails impact wildlife.
  • Encourage the identification of sensitive habitat areas that may not be suitable for future trails.

COMMUNICATIONS GOAL. Increase the availability of and improve trails information, education, and technical assistance.


Possible Action Strategies

1. Create and maintain a region-wide trails information clearinghouse.

  • Determine what trails information and maps are most useful to the public.
  • Maintain and update a "Trails Resource List" of helpful publications and information.
  • Provide trail information and maps over the Internet as a convenient and cost-effective means of reaching a large audience.

2. Use the Internet and computer technology to provide up-to-date information relating to the Regional Trails Program.

  • Publish important on-going Trail Program documents over the Internet.
  • Experiment with Internet survey tools to provide up-to-date information.
  • Populate the Trails Program web site with useful tips and information.
  • Develop a marketing plan.
  • Develop a process for Internet site administration including updates.

STEWARDSHIP GOAL. Encourage regional trail and natural asset stewardship through education, partnerships, volunteerism, and youth programs.


Possible Action Strategies

1. Promote trail volunteerism, youth programming, and educational programming which fosters stewardship of our trails and natural assets.

  • Encourage and support volunteer organizations that promote trail stewardship.
  • Provide funding support for youth corps and youth crews.
  • Support efforts that help educate the public concerning appropriate trail use .

2. Use volunteers and youth crews to provide maintenance on regional trails.

  • Use capacity building grants to support youth crews and volunteer maintenance projects.
  • Encourage and support volunteer organizations that provide maintenance services through capacity building grants.

ETHICS AND COOPERATION GOAL. Promote trail ethics and encourage the proper management of trail activity conflicts by facilitating communication among user groups, trail planners, and land management agencies.


Possible Action Strategies

1. Work with clubs and trail related organizations of all kinds to better understand the needs of the public at large and those of specific user groups.

  • Attend club and trail organization meetings.
  • Subscribe to user publications.
  • Monitor present and future trends and changes in activity preferences.
  • Establish baseline demographic statistics.

2. Promote inclusion and respect of all trail users as part of the Townsville Trails Program.

  • Respect the needs and differences of different trail enthusiasts.
  • Work with enthusiasts and organizations to promote trail ethics.
  • Create opportunities for diverse trails groups to work together on trail projects to help resolve conflicts by increasing awareness of other users' needs.
  • Incorporate articles about Regional Trails initiatives in various organisation newsletters.

FUNDING GOAL. Provide stable, long-term funding sources for trail planning, design, construction, and maintenance.


3. Develop partnerships with trail supporters, wildlife groups, open space advocates, land trusts, local governments, and private industry to pursue mutually beneficial projects.

Possible Action Strategies

1. Assess possible Grants Programs to ensure the fair, efficient, and timely distribution of trail program funds.

  • Develop a yearly work schedule and work program for grants approval and administration
  • Work to eliminate all customer complaints.
  • Review application criteria to ensure equitable fund distributions.

2. Examine and pursue additional funding sources so that more, worthy projects can be supported in a timely manner.

  • Create targeted funding initiatives for the purpose of implementing the strategic plan.
  • Pursue innovative funding sources such as private funding and industry sponsorships
  • Investigate a "Friends of Trails" program.

  • Work cooperatively with State and Council land management agencies.
  • Encourage the integration of trails and trail planning in open space and land-use planning projects.
  • Attend organisational meetings of potential partners and solicit cooperation.



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