Congratulations to our latest BLSA Day Walk Leader graduate – Judy McAdam

Judy McAdam, our latest BLSA Day Walk Leader graduateJudy McAdam has recently graduated as a Day Walk Leader. Judy is a member of the Friends of the Heysen Trail, being actively involved with the Friends as an office volunteer, Membership Secretary, Council member and as Co-ordinator of End-to-End 10 when they crossed the finishing stile on the July 16.

The Day Walk Leader Certificate equips people to lead single day group bushwalking trips.

Thanks to grant support from Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Walking SA partnered with Bushwalking Leadership SA to strengthen bushwalking leadership within our clubs.

Having walked in her teens Judy returned to the trail to train to walk the Camino for a significant birthday 11 years ago and hasn’t stopped walking since, and doesn’t plan to do so anytime soon.

She found the opportunity to undertake the Bushwalking Leadership Day Walk Leader Certificate was too good to miss.

“I found the course excellent and even though I had a reasonable base knowledge I learned a great deal and dug up some lost knowledge and skills out of the archives of my brain, ” says Judy.

“I must admit while reading through the notes prior to first day I had a chuckle that these were the same things I was taught as a girl guide, oh so many years ago but I quickly came to realise that what was good bushcraft then remains good bushcraft today, and even though there were advances in technology and equipment the fundamentals remain the same.”

“I particularly enjoyed the navigation component and I applied the route planning lessons to the current Heysen trail route and maps and found it beneficial in really appreciating the terrain the group we were leading was facing in final 200k of the trail.”

She strongly recommends the course to all walking clubs and walk leaders.

 

The next Bushwalking Leadership SA Day Walk Leader Certificate course is in September. The Training Day is Saturday 4th September 2021, with the Workshop on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September 2021. Book via www.bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

You can find out more about upcoming training dates by contacting us or visiting bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

Advice for Bushwalkers to consider Biosecurity

Recently we sought advice from the state government Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) in regards to issues bushwalkers should consider in relation to biosecurity.

Read the advice from Biosecurity SA – Invasive Species Unit, Primary Industries & Regions SA (PIRSA) in full below.

A major issue for the protection of native vegetation and primary production is the transport of seeds of weedy plants on clothing including footwear, and even coats or backpacks.

Walkers are advised to check their trousers, shoes and socks after walking through a weedy area, then take a moment to get all weed seeds out of their clothes. Staying on established walking trails can make it easier to avoid picking up this plant debris.

Walkers should also consider the potential for their vehicles to carry weeds on roadsides and car parks adjoining the walking trail.

The SA Weed Control App may be useful to walkers.

View as response letter (PDF).

 

Thank you for your enquiry, and for Walking SA’s interest in supporting the education of bushwalkers about biosecurity.

A major issue for the protection of native vegetation and primary production is the transport of seeds of weedy plants on clothing including footwear, and even coats or backpacks. All these items should be checked for any burrs, grass seeds etc. When camping out, it is also advisable to check swags and tents for seeds that get attached.

High risk declared weeds that may be transported in this way include caltrop, Noogoora burr and khaki weed; and, in the arid zone, buffel grass.

Walkers are advised to check their trousers, shoes and socks after walking through a weedy area, then take a moment to get all weed seeds out of their clothes. Staying on established walking trails can make it easier to avoid picking up this plant debris.

Walkers should also consider the potential for their vehicles to carry weeds on roadsides and car parks adjoining the walking trail.

Risk of vehicles spreading pests and diseases can be lessened by washing down using a hose, high pressure cleaner or spray tank and pump. Be sure to clean all potential seed collection points, and move the vehicle forward to ensure tyres are clean all around the tread. Sweep or vacuum inside the cab to remove seeds and plant debris.

Where no wash-down facilities are available be sure to physically remove all clods of mud and visible plant material in addition to cleaning the foot-well and cabin of the vehicle. Use a brush or scraping implement to remove contaminants such as burrs and clods of mud from tyres, mud guards, ledges and crevices where they could lodge.

Removed seeds should be bagged and taken to where they can be disposed of safely, for example by putting the bags in the ‘red’ garbage bin.

Soil pathogens such as phytophthora may also be carried in soil on footwear, particularly in the winter-spring wet months. Walkers should observe any signs marking known phytophthora infestations. The presence of shrubs that have died with all their dry brown foliage in place, especially yakkas and banksia, may indicate the presence of phytophthora.

Further to the above, the Invasive Species Council has produced a useful brochure on minimizing biosecurity risks when visiting natural areas: https://invasives.org.au/how-to-help/keep-gear-clean-wild/

Kangaroo Island is in the fortunate position of being free from many weeds and pests that are established on the mainland, and visitors have a responsibility to protect the island’s biosecurity. In particular, honey and unwashed potatoes must not be taken to Kangaroo Island. More information can be found at the Biosecurity SA website.

The SA Weed Control App may be useful to walkers. It illustrates all the plants declared in SA under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, and enables a user to report infestations to regional weeds officers with GPS co-ordinates and a photo. The app can be downloaded from the Department of Primary Industries and Regions website at https://pir.sa.gov.au/biosecurity/weeds_and_pest_animals/weeds_in_sa/weed_contr ol_app

Volunteer groups who are installing trails should obtain advice from regional Landscape board staff and land managers regarding biosecurity signage, as part of the approval process for the on-ground works.

Thanks again for your interest in biosecurity issues.

Yours sincerely,
Dr John Virtue
General Manager Strategy, Policy & Invasive Species

Showcasing a Walking Club: Gawler Bushwalkers

Gawler Bushwalkers on a hike

The Gawler Bushwalkers club has been going for over 20 years with many long-standing members and well qualified walk leaders. Members come from a wide range of backgrounds and ages and enjoy bushwalking and as well as walking for fitness and friendship. Many take a keen interest in native plants, trees and orchids, and walk locations often reflect this. The walk program is compiled at the AGM each year in February, and then walks are held every second Sunday from April to October. Members meet a carpark in Gawler for an 8am departure, often with car-pooling, to the walk start point. Most walks are held in the northern areas out from Gawler generally in the Barossa Valley, Clare Valley or Kapunda area and have included the Lavender Federation and Heysen Trail and the new Clare Valley Wine & Wilderness Trail. Most Sunday walks are 5 to 6 hours in duration with stops for morning tea and lunch, after which some members will have a coffee and cake as a reward.

The walks cover a distance of 16 to 20km. Occasionally there is a shorter walk where available, and new, or less-experienced walkers’ needs are always accommodated, as the group aims to offer a welcoming, safe walking experience.

The club also runs a summer walk program on a Thursday afternoon/evening around the Gawler area from November to March, weather permitting.

There is a group of members currently walking the Walk the York trail which they should complete in 2022. A group is also holding a camp in Victor Harbor in October this year.

The club presently has 70 members with 20 to 25 who walk regularly.

The first walk with the walk is free and if people decide to continue, the membership fee is $20 per year. There is no charge for each walk.

You can find out more at:

You can find a walking club at walkingsa.org.au/walk/list-of-walking-clubs-south-australia.

Congratulations to our latest BLSA Day Walk Leader graduate – Roxanne Crook

Roxanne Crook has recently graduated as a Day Walk LeaderRoxanne Crook has recently graduated as a Day Walk Leader. Roxanne is a member of Adelaide Bushwalkers and the Friends of the Heysen Trail, and well regarded in the SA bushwalking community.

The Day Walk Leader Certificate equips people to lead single day group bushwalking trips.

Thanks to grant support from Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Walking SA partnered with Bushwalking Leadership SA to strengthen bushwalking leadership within our clubs.

The next Bushwalking Leadership SA Day Walk Leader Certificate course is in September. The Training Day is Saturday 4th September 2021, with the Workshop on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September 2021. Book via www.bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

You can find out more about upcoming training dates by contacting us or visiting bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

Helen Jensen completes the BLSA Day Walk Leader Certificate

We’ve been offering training to members of our hiking clubs to complete Bushwalking Leadership SA’s Day Walk Leader Certificate. We’ve been able to provide this with grant support from the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing.

Heather JensenLast month one of our first group of students, Heather Jensen, graduated. Heather is a member of Adelaide Bushwalkers and the Friends of the Heysen Trail.

The Day Walk Leader Certificate equips people to lead single day bushwalking trips.

Heather found the planning elements tedious, but has been surprised to learn it to be the most critical aspect of preparing for the hike. It has allowed her to be prepared and confident when leading a hike – and indeed enjoy the experience – knowing when to proceed or pull the pin, and understand the potential hazards and how mitigate those with contingency plans.

Through the course Heather has realised that she has been overly reliant on easy and accessible smartphone and devices to work out where she is in the bush. The course has equipped her with the knowledge to navigate via the “old school compass and map” method. Having seen that sometimes technology can fail or fall short, her approach now is a mix of both methods. Technology can interfere with the walk and enjoyment of it and is not necessary to get out there.

“I found when I only had the paper map to follow, I took a lot more notice of my surroundings and although this takes longer to stop and check where I am on the map, it is much more satisfying.”

On her practical trip when she led a small group on a hike she had planned, one of the hikers had a fall.

“The course taught me how to handle a variety of emergency situations, and with my First Aid skills, gave me the confidence to be calm with the injured hiker and the rest of the group, so as to best help the person and group.”

The course is delivered over multiple sessions with a five-hour practical, which as a bonus gives students time to take in what they are learning, explore the issues more and raise questions.

“I believe the course provides a good grounding in how to be a good day hike bushwalking leader and all groups should be sending their leaders on the course to ensure the safety of those in their care.  Experience and practice will help me to continue to understand and maintain what I have learned.”

You can find out more about upcoming training dates by contacting us.

Showcasing a Walking Organisation: the Friends of the Heysen Trail celebrates 35 years

Celebrating 35 years of volunteering to keep the Heysen Trail Alive!

For the past 35 years members of the Friends of the Heysen Trail (the Friends) have worked to develop and support the Heysen Trail, South Australia’s 1200km adventure hike. The continued existence and access for walkers on the Heysen Trail depends upon the work done by volunteers.

Formed in 1986 to provide volunteer support for the initial planning and construction of the Heysen Trail, the Friends has continued to work closely with relevant state government departments, currently the Department for Environment and Water, to maintain and develop the Trail. Since that time, the Friends has vigorously advocated for and contributed to construction of additional campsites and facilities. During the past 10 years our volunteers have built and installed major improvements including:

  • Water tanks: 15
  • Pit toilets: 8
  • Campsite platforms: 18
  • Cabins with bunks: 1
  • Huts refurbished: 6

The Friends are fortunate to have a large group of volunteers (we are all volunteers) involved in the office, administration, trail development works, promotions, our ‘Trailwalker’ magazine, and the extensive walk programme. The large range of activities ensures there’s a place for all those who would like to help support Australia’s 1200km adventure hike, the Heysen Trail.

Walking – The Friends deliver a comprehensive program of bushwalks, TrailStarters and TrailWalkers, are day walks accessible from Adelaide. TrailStarter walks are shorter walks, with a walk time of about 3 to 4 hours and are not too physically demanding. TrailWalker walks are reasonably demanding for walkers who have walked regularly in various terrain. With a walking time of about 5 to 6 hours they require a higher degree of physical fitness. Summer Walks are generally shorter walks held over summer, many at evening twilight time with a sociable meal after, to keep up fitness and friendships.

The End to End walk program is for those wishing to walk some or all of the Heysen Trail. To hike the 1200km involves approximately sixty day walks, spread over six seasons. The southern walks, from Cape Jervis to Kapunda, are held on one Saturday or Sunday per month during the walk season. Due to the greater travelling distances involved, from Kapunda northwards, the walks are held over one weekend a month. The Friends organise many of the logistics making it a safe and supported way to hike the entire trail. With walking times of about 5 to 6 hours these hikes are for those who have walked regularly in various terrain and have a high degree of physical fitness. In 2021 there will be 7 groups walking separate sections on the Heysen Trail.

The Friends membership fee is $25 per year. A charge of $10 per walk applies for most walks, with $5 for Summer Walks. A Golden Boots card provides 12 months of walks for the one $75 fee. After two walks, guest members need to join as members. Proceeds from the walks are returned to support and promote the Heysen Trail. Currently the Friends has around 1,200 members.

You can find out more, including the walk program and guidelines for walkers at heysentrail.asn.au.

 

You can view all our walking clubs at walkingsa.org.au/walk/list-of-walking-clubs-south-australia.

Are you planning a walking group in Kuitpo or Mount Crawford forests?

The number of people and groups visiting our forests has been increasing, particularly since COVID.

For all small group day activities, including those run by walking clubs, ForestrySA requests the organiser confirms they can proceed as planned, and are not impacted by forest operations and other events in the vicinity.

At least two weeks prior, please send an email to recreation@forestrysa.com.au with the following details:

  1. Event Organiser name + contact details
  2. Expected number of attendees
  3. Dates/s and timing of arrival and departure to forest
  4. Map or route, and itinerary for proposed activities

Showcasing a Walking Club: WEA Ramblers

The WEA Ramblers is the oldest walking club in South Australia. In 2020 they celebrated the 95th anniversary of the club’s first walk at Hallett Cove in August 1925.

For most of those years Ramblers has conducted day walks of between 12 to 18 km fortnightly on Sundays throughout the year. This year, half day walks are also being included in the program. These will be from 6 to 9km, once a month on a Tuesday.

Day walks are held in Conservation Parks and reserves up to 70km from Adelaide. Summer walks and half day walks are closer to the City.

On the June and October long weekends, trips are made to more distant locations in South Australia with accommodation, from Friday to Monday, organized in holiday houses or hostels. Day walks are conducted on the Saturday and Sunday, and a half day walk on the Monday morning, before the trip home.

The membership fee is $20 per year. A charge of $5 per walk applies for Sunday walks, but there is no charge for Tuesday walks. After three walks, new walkers become eligible to join as members. Currently the club has 25 members.

You can find out more, including the walk program and guidelines for walkers on their website at sites.google.com/view/wea-ramblers-sa. Photos and maps of recent walks are displayed on the Photo Gallery page.

You can find a walking club at walkingsa.org.au/walk/list-of-walking-clubs-south-australia.

Showcasing a Walking Club: Skyline Walkers

Skyline Walkers walking in Kangaroo IslandSkyline Walkers are a friendly group of 68 walkers who meet on Saturday mornings. They offer a all-year round program of walks.

Their Saturday walks are located as far north as Para Wirra and as far south as Onkaparinga and Kuitpo Forest. Weekend trips in recent years have included Mannum, Marion Bay, Clare, Penola and Normanville. Trips further afield have included Victoria’s Great Ocean Walk and the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. Pre-Covid, they ventured overseas to Ireland (2019), Orkney Scotland, Italy, Canada and Japan.

Their summer morning walks (January to March) are for two hours located on the Adelaide Plains or seaside locations, with fairly flat terrain. They are, however, at a fairly brisk pace. If the forecast temperature is 32C or higher the walk is cancelled.

Winter walks are located in the Adelaide Hills and hence include some hills. There is a choice of a two hour walk (approx six or seven km) or a three-hour walk (approx 10 km). They also offer longer and harder walks on Sundays several times a year, an annual walking trip interstate or overseas, and a weekend away within SA. Sunday long walks are generally around five to six hours duration and are at locations such as the Lavender Federation Trail. In March 2021, fingers crossed with Covid-19, they’re walking in Tasmania. On long weekends they usually do a two-hour walk on the Monday followed by a pub lunch, and all other walks conclude with tea/coffee and refreshments (subject to Covid restrictions of course!).

Members fees are $70 per year which covers walking for a whole year with no other fees required. People wishing to try out the club and their walks can have two walks free of charge before joining.

You can find out more, including the walk calendar and details, and guidelines for walkers on their website at skylinewalkersinc.com.

You can find a walking club at walkingsa.org.au/walk/list-of-walking-clubs-south-australia.

Walking SA Club Presidents’ Summit, Friday November 13, 2020

Walking SA Club Presidents' Summit, Friday November 13, 2020A get together of the key people from walking clubs and organizations of South Australia was held to develop a more cohesive and relevant strategy going forward. We had nine clubs in attendance, representing over 2,600 members from around the state, however mostly Adelaide based.

The feedback seems to indicate a clear mandate to take the lead on issues and to be bolder and more coherent with our strategic vision.

There was an acknowledgement that most clubs were not seeing the benefits of stay-at-home tourists bar the bigger groups and all agreed we needed to find a way to get walkers to try out clubs. Volunteer leaders/maintenance teams were also identified as a finite resource.

The Leadership Training program has to date proven to be very popular with clubs, we still have some spots left for clubs who did not take up the offer first time around, so get in touch with the office.

Our guest speaker from National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia, who was to speak on getting clubs involved in park of the month promotions had a covid scare and could not attend. The proposal was presented to group, but without a calendar of parks, no actions could be made.

The importance of walking trail development and maintaining walking trails was iterated and it was great to see so many passionate people keen to keep these assets both in place and also being established.

Generally, all agreed this was a useful get together, if not lacking some strong vision on getting more people bushwalking.

Thankyou to all who took part. We hope to build from this and link up the thinking, resources and knowledge of the greater South Australia walking community to benefit all.

The next Summit will be in six months time. We are planning a First Nations training workshop in February 2021 – details to follow when finalised.

Walking SA Leadership Development

Walking SA, as the peak body for recreational walking in South Australia, has received funding from The Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing to assist clubs in capacity building over this financial year.

We are embarking on a program to help you develop your club leadership skills base to maintain and grow your club walks program. Essentially – to get more people walking more often.

This project is being delivered in the following ways:

  1. Survey to determine need, complete the survey
  2. Leadership Development Workshop April, 2021 – tailored to recognised needs based on survey responses and club consultation
  3. Heavily subsidised places in Bushwalking Leadership SA courses for 2020/2021

For club members interested in participating, applications are through your club committee.  You can either go directly to the club, or get in touch with us indicating which club you belong to, and we will notify the club of your expression of interest.

Each club has a minimum of one 97% subsidised place on the Day Walk Course ($15 investment saving $495 discount), with limited spots available on the extensive Bushwalking Leadership Certificate ($50 investment saving a whopping $1370 – over 97% subsidised).  preference given to clubs running, or intending to run, overnight bushwalking events.

For individual members: The leadership project is for you too!  There are limited discounted places available on the leadership courses for individual members.  We also welcome your input on other aspects of the program. Please get in touch with project officer Rod: rod.quintrell@walkingsa.org.au to express your interest.

July 13: Covid-19 update for walking club activities

Relevant to walking clubs:

[view previous June 19 advice on numbers]

SA Health and SAPOL have made factsheets available to clarify restrictions related to:

Of particular note, the SA Health food safety team have clarified with SAPOL that BBQ’s will now be classified as “take away food” rather than communal food, which allows sausage sizzles and BBQ’s to be held at recreation/sporting venues. Certain measures must still be taken to reduce the risk of infection, including:

  • People being served must practice physical distancing when lining up to order and practice good hygiene.
  • No self-service of condiments etc. (person serving the food must apply condiments).
  • Cooked food must be protected from contamination and stored away from the area where orders are placed.

SA Health have also advised that shared food (i.e. oranges, lollies and recovery food) is still considered communal food and is not permitted.

Please refer to covid-19.sa.gov.au/emergency-declarations/public-activities for the latest information.

In accordance with Step 3 of the Roadmap and Emergency Management Directions, please note the following:

Density and Physical Distancing

  • Physical distancing measures must still be followed.
  • 1 person per 2 square metres.
  • 1.5 metres between people.
  • Room/venue limits will be subject to the 1 person per 2 square meters rule, so size of the room will determine capacity.
  • Outdoor recreation activities (such as walking/hiking) do not need to maintain records for the purposes of contact tracing.

Food and beverages

  • Purchase and consumption of food or beverages (including alcohol) is permitted as long as no communal food or beverage service areas are used (i.e. buffets, salad bars, water/beverage dispensers)
  • Team sharing of food during and after training and competition is not permitted (i.e. half time oranges, recovery food etc).
  • Food or beverages can now be consumed whilst seated or standing.

Communal facilities

  • Communal changing rooms, shower facilities and sauna or spa facilities and toilets are now permitted to be used.

Please refer to the Covid-19 Frequently Asked Questions for any questions you may have.

Covid-19 restrictions easing from 19 June: Walking Groups may increase numbers from 20 to 75

From this Friday, 19 June 2020, each walking group can increase from 20 to 75. Physical distancing of one person per 4sqm must still be maintained. The total number of people who can gather in one location has increased from 80 to 300 (up to 4 groups of 75). Each group of up to 75 should remain separate.

It is anticipated that the next stage of easing will occur on Monday 29 June. From this date, it is expected that group number limits will be removed, however, the limit of one person per 4sqm will remain in place.

Hygiene and cleaning practices should remain in place, and clubs should continue to maintain a process for tracking participants (in the event of an infection outbreak, this will be important to minimise the spread).

Please note the above restrictions are not recommendations by Walking SA, these are legally enforceable restrictions that we are passing on from the Premier, through the Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing (ORSR).

Related previous advice:

  1. Effective June 1: Walking Club Activities, transition to Step 2 of the SA Roadmap for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions
  2. Effective May 11: Plan for resumption of walking club activities – Level B

The Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing official advice effective 19 June 2020 is:

The key points that relate to sport and recreation are as follows:

Introduction of Stage 2.5 – from Friday 19 June

  • This will be an interim step before we move to Stage 3 of the roadmap
  • The number of people allowable in a room (or a group outside) within a venue will increase from 20 to 75 providing 1 person per 4 square metres can be accommodated. This will apply to training or competition groups.
  • The total number of people allowed in a venue will increase from 80 to 300 providing 1 person per 4 square metres can be accommodated. Again this will apply to all people, indoor and outdoor who are gathered at a club.

Stage 3 will commence earlier than expected on Monday 29 June

  • There will be no room or venue limit. This will be replaced with only a density requirement of 1 person per 4 square metres

From Monday 20 July

  • Border restrictions will be lifted
  • There will be no requirement on entry to SA to self-isolate for 14 days

While gyms for individual workouts can increase numbers in line with the above roadmap, increasing the cap of 10 participants in dance and fitness classes is still being considered.

We are still waiting on guidance regarding indoor contact sport.

As always organisations must submit their COVID Safe Plan before commencing activity and should ensure that cleaning and hygiene regimes are enforced.

Walking Club Activities, transition to Step 2 of the SA Roadmap for Easing COVID-19 Restrictions, effective June 1

This advice has since been updated

From this Friday, 19 June 2020, each walking group can increase from 20 to 75. Physical distancing of one person per 4sqm must still be maintained. The total number of people who can gather in one location has increased from 80 to 300 (up to 4 groups of 75). Each group of up to 75 should remain separate. Read more.

Restrictions and advice affecting walking clubs

Effective June 1

Today we have received confirmation from the Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing (ORSR), that walking clubs will be able to increase walk numbers up to 20 participants per group (plus 1 walk leader, totaling 21 people), from 1 June 2020. Other than the increase in numbers, all recommendations around distancing and hygiene maintenance still apply (1.5m between participants should still be maintained, and 1 person per 4 square metres). No more than 4 groups of 20 should be ‘gathered’ at any one time.

The ORSR is recommending that all clubs complete a COVID-19 Safe Plan prior to recommencing, however this is only mandatory for groups/clubs using clubrooms.

The recent specific advice issued by ORSR can be viewed on their website.

View the supporting advice (but note the above changes).

Covid-19: Plan for resumption of walking club activities – Level B – effective Monday 11 May 2020

This advice has since been updated

From this Friday, 19 June 2020, each walking group can increase from 20 to 75. Physical distancing of one person per 4sqm must still be maintained. The total number of people who can gather in one location has increased from 80 to 300 (up to 4 groups of 75). Each group of up to 75 should remain separate. Read more.

As restrictions from COVID-19 ease, the Office of Recreation, Sport and Racing advised all peak sporting and recreation bodies of the requirement to submit a plan for resumption of activities, which adhered to the national and state regulations. The formal, approved plan for walking is below. The key points are to:

  • Maintain walking groups of 10 or fewer
  • Maintain physical distance and hygiene practices
  • Avoid sharing equipment

Covid-19: Plan for resumption of walking club activities – Level B

Covid-19 return to sport – Level B – effective Monday 11 May 2020

This plan for walking clubs has been formulated in accordance with, and is effective immediately:

National guidelines

South Australian Restrictions

Overview

The resumption of walking activities can contribute many health, economic, social and cultural benefits to Australian society emerging from the COVID-19 environment and international evidence to-date is suggestive that outdoor activities are a lower risk setting for COVID-19 transmission.

The resumption of activities should not compromise the health of individuals or the community and will be based on objective health information to ensure activities are conducted safely and do not risk increased COVID-19 local transmission rates.

During Level B restrictions, walking club activities will be restricted to groups of 10 or fewer. Moving to the next stage of restrictions (Level C) will be dependent upon National, State/Territory and/or Local Public Health Authority guidance.  Importantly, resumption of walking club activities may be non-linear. Increasing restrictions may be required in response to fluctuating numbers of COVID-19 cases. All organisations need to be flexible to accommodate and respond to changes in community transmission rates and the associated changes in advice from Public Health Authorities.

At all times walking clubs must respond to the directives of Public Health Authorities. Localised outbreaks may require organisations to again restrict activity and those organisations must be ready to respond accordingly. The detection of a positive COVID-19 case in a sporting or recreation club or organisation will result in a standard public health response, which could include quarantine of the group, and close contacts, for the required period.  Due to the risks associated with large gatherings all walking club activities should limit those present to the minimum required to support the participants. All meeting venues should be assessed to ensure precautions are taken to minimise risk to those participating by accommodating social distancing requirements. Ideally, meeting points should be outside at the walk location and walk routes should favour loops or ‘there and back’ to avoid car-shuffles, noting many cars would not meet distancing requirements. Some walking clubs meet indoors prior to commencing walks or finish their walks with a social activity indoors. As recommended by the national guidelines, the current approach to club activities should focus on ‘get in, walk, get out’, minimising unnecessary contact in bathrooms and indoor areas. During Level B restrictions, walk leaders should choose clearly marked walking trails to minimise the likelihood of any first aid contact being required.  Ensure club safety protocols are in place, including a communication plan for each activity undertaken (e.g. mobile phones are carried, and numbers exchanged). Clubs and individuals should apply a graded return to mitigate injury risk, understanding that sudden increase in training load will predispose to injury.

All walks should be conducted with the social distancing and other requirements in place at the time, ensuring no contact between participants. This includes:

  • 1.5 metre minimum distance between participants
  • 4m2 minimum area per person
  • No single gathering shall exceed 10 people

For these purposes, a walk conducted by a club or involving club members is considered a gathering. Walks involving more than one club should not be held unless the total number attending is fewer than 10. Where a walking group exceeds 10 people, the walk should be split into 2 or more separate groups so that none exceed 10 people. If there is a possibility the number of people attending a walk will exceed 10, the leader should organise additional leaders for the separate groups. Where the groups intend to follow the same route, the leader of each following group must ensure that the group does not overlap or merge with the group ahead.

The configuration of each group shall not change during the walk. Except as necessary to deal with an emergency, participants should not move into a different group part way through the walk. Where possible, the walk participants should register with the walk leader before commencing. A simple record of all participants in each walk should be kept for at least 2 months to assist with contact tracing in the event a participant becomes unwell.

Steps for clubs to take prior to recommencing activities:

  • Provide advice to all participants not to return to club activities if in the last 14 days they have been unwell or had contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19. Any individual with respiratory symptoms (even if mild) should be considered a potential case and must immediately self-isolate, have COVID-19 excluded and be medically cleared by a doctor to return to the training environment.
  • Create a club-specific protocol for recording walk participants and managing illness or injury (both during walks and if alerted to a participant’s illness after a club activity). Special consideration should be made for any participants with medical conditions as they may be more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection.
  • Have cleaning protocols in place for any equipment and facilities utilised.
  • If relevant, provide hand hygiene (hand sanitisers) on entry and exit to meeting venues
  • Advise walk leaders to plan walks based upon the guidelines contained within this plan.
  • Communicate this plan (and any club-specific steps) to all club members.

Steps for all club members:

  • Apply personal hygiene (wash hands or use hand sanitisers) pre and post activities. Consider bringing hand-sanitizer for personal use.
  • Do not share drink bottles, food, cups, plates, or any utensils for cooking, eating or drinking, or other personal items.
  • Do not attend any walks or activities if unwell (contact doctor).
  • Spitting and clearing of nasal/respiratory secretions while walking must be strongly discouraged.
  • Thorough full body shower with soap before and after walking club activities (at home).
  • No socialising or group meal.