Response to Vision of the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges as an International Mountain Biking Destination

We have made a submission to the Government of South Australia in regards to their proposal developing the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges as an international mountain biking destination.

WalkingSA logo19 December 2014

The Honourable Ian Hunter, MLC
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation
GPO Box 1047

Dear Minister,

Re: Visioning Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges as an International Mountain Biking Destination: Response to stakeholder consultation meeting October 2014.

In October 2014, Walking SA was invited to attend a stakeholder meeting to discuss “Developing the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges as an International Mountain Biking Destination”.

We appreciate the opportunity that was offered at this meeting to provide feedback about the potential benefits and risks of progressing this concept.

As the peak body for all forms of walking in South Australia, Walking SA is fully supportive of actions that will showcase our State. We believe visioning the Mount Lofty Ranges as an international recreation destination and promoting a broad range of activities has great merit, given the close proximity to our city, the accessibility and natural beauty of the area.

However, we strongly recommend that any proposal to raise the profile of the Mount Lofty Ranges as an international recreation destination must be inclusive of walking.

The Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges already has an outstanding network of quality walking trails and shared use corridors that provide great recreational opportunities for walkers and horse riders, as well as mountain bike riders.

A limited recreational vision for the future of the Mount Lofty Ranges – i.e. primarily as a Mountain Biking Destination – misses the potential for broader development and promotion of the region as an exciting opportunity for local, national and international visitors to explore the region in different ways.

Walking SA proposes three key principles (and associated risks) for consideration in future recreational planning in the Mount Lofty Ranges.

1. Safety and enjoyment of everyone – i.e. local and international walkers, riders and mountain-bike riders who access the Mt Lofty Ranges for recreation:

There is a significant speed differential between different types of users on shared trails, particularly for walkers and downhill mountain bikes. Heavy or fast bicycle use on ostensibly shared trails can discourage walking, particularly for older walkers or those with hearing or sight impediments. Similarly, large crowds of walkers or sightseers on a trail can impede cyclists.

Trails designed for downhill mountain bike riding cannot be regarded as suitable for walkers. Therefore, a well-planned mix of trail types needs to be provided to cater for the diverse needs and abilities within the community.

2. Environmental impact

Degradation of narrow, vulnerable bush walking trails increases when tracks are opened up to multi-purpose use. Mountain bike riding is much more likely than walking to produce ‘gullying’ and water flow along tracks, leading to erosion or ponding. Careful planning, trail design and regular monitoring will be critical to all future development, particularly if the Ranges are promoted primarily as a mountain bike destination.

3. Cost of building and maintaining trails

Walking infrastructure is relativity inexpensive and in many cases already exists. The requirements for mountain bike tracks will be significantly more expensive to construct and maintain. Funding for the development and maintenance of a variety of trails will provide a greater return on investment in terms of both health benefits and tourism.

In conclusion, Walking SA suggests that the Adelaide Mount Lofty Ranges should be promoted as an INTERNATIONAL WALK / RIDE / BIKE DESTINATION which offers fantastic opportunities for walkers, mountain bikers, off-road cyclists, back road cyclists and horse riders.

The focus of promotion could be the range of opportunities so close to a major city. Maps and descriptors could be made of trails and routes that could be explored in different ways. Casual and more serious adventures could be promoted. Linking of food and wine outlets, and overnight stays, could feature.

A broader and more inclusive focus would ultimately attract larger numbers of international visitors.

Walking SA is supportive of further inclusive development of the Mount Lofty Ranges to encourage a greater variety of recreational activity and enjoyment, boost tourism and promote positive health outcomes.

Please contact Walking SA if we can be of further assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Dannielle McBeath
Executive Officer
Walking SA

2015 Events + Introducing New Board + Travel by Camel

This article contains 3 stories:

Traversing the Landscape by Camel Safari


Camel SafariA bushwalker’s addiction is to transform the horizon into the night’s campsite. A string of camels moving gently through a rarely visited outback landscape carry everything but your day pack. Here are ingredients for a memorable hike.

The safaris don’t often travel the same route or return to the same place. The exceptions are magical places, campsites that beckon and have done so for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years. At one of these, an indigenous tool factory on the face of a sand dune is close to the stone ruins of a shepherds hut and only a few hundred meters from our campsite. In turn, the campsite is only a few giant Coolabah trees away from a motionless, nesting Tawny Frogmouth. One night laughing around the campfire did we imagine the leaves moving in the stillness?

Next morning, we follow a low sand dune towards the distant mesas that will be our camp for the coming night. The images from that day have the flavour of other days and nights – they linger in the mind: an expanse of tall purple-flowering pea; a claypan with remnant reflecting water patterned around with a crazing of bird prints; an orange-tinged bearded dragon motionless except for an eye blink; shimmering mirages; the soft cushioned movement of camel feet leaving little impression on sand or just a shine on stone; an orange chat darting across the gibber stones; the sky fitting like a blue dome over a landscape that seems to go on forever; night skies filled with an unimaginable number of stars; silence and timelessness.

2015 Events + Introducing New Board

Wendy KeechFollowing the Walking SA Annual General Meeting held on 30 October, I would like to formally introduce our current Board and extend a warm welcome to Alan Bundy who is returning to the Board and Michelle Wilson, who joins us from the National Heart Foundation. The Board is dedicated to raising the profile of Walking SA, maintaining a strong connection with our existing members and building new members in 2015.

The Walking SA Board is:

  • Wendy Keech, Chair
  • Narelle Berry, Deputy Chair
  • Ian Budenberg, Treasurer
  • Margaret Gadd, Secretary
  • Alan Bundy
  • Jeremy Carter
  • Bill Gehling
  • Andrew Govan
  • Jim McLean
  • Melanie Smith
  • Michelle Wilson

Our Board consists of volunteers and is comprised of highly committed members who possess diverse backgrounds bringing a range of skills including business management, community engagement, finance, policy, research, marketing, IT, trail design and maintenance. View profiles of our Board Members.

I look forward to overseeing the implementation of many new initiatives and monitoring the progress as our Strategic Plan is put into action. We will be holding some public events and promotions with an aim to increase the profile of walking as an easy to access, inclusive mode of physical activity that is great for social, physical and mental health. Details of such events will be released in the new year.

We are also holding a members forum in March that will engage members in the strategic vision of Walking SA.

I wish all of the Walking SA members and supporters a safe and happy Christmas break. We look forward to a productive, successful and progressive year in 2015 where we will strive to see the profile and participation rates of walking in South Australia significantly increased.

Wendy Keech
Chair, Walking SA

Change of Walking SA Contact Details

Please note that Walking SA has moved from the Greening Australia Building in Pasadena and we have updated our postal address.

Our new contact details are:  PO Box 581, Echunga  SA  5153
Phone: 0457 006 620

Coward Springs Camel Safaris