Hiking Safety takes top priority in Outdoors Great Southern campaign - Outdoors Great Southern

Hiking Safety takes top priority in Outdoors Great Southern campaign

Photo courtesy Mt Barker SES

Hiker safety is the top priority in a new campaign targeting hikers who travel to the Great Southern region to take on some of the region’s most popular advanced grade trails.

Albany-based not-for-profit Outdoors Great Southern has launched HikeSafe Great Southern, an educational campaign promoting the benefits of advanced grade hiking and visitation to the Great Southern’s trails, while at the same time imparting practical hiking skills and safety messages to develop hiker confidence and independence.

The campaign, funded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, will target novice hikers with limited experience and knowledge of hiking in rugged conditions on advanced trails, including mountainous terrains which are often subject to extreme weather conditions.

Outdoors Great Southern Acting CEO Simon Barras said the campaign was supported by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, WA Police and the Mt Barker State Emergency Service.

"Volunteers and staff of these organisations spend significant time and other resources in conducting search and rescue operations at popular advanced grade hiking locations, such as Bluff Knoll, Nancy’s Peak, Devils Slide and Bald Head," Mr Barras said.

“It’s not always the case that a person requiring emergency assistance on these trails is underprepared, however this campaign aims to reduce the chances of this happening.

“Our aim is to raise awareness of the factors that could assist in these circumstances, such as how to assess a trail before hiking, what to take, and how to otherwise prepare for a physically demanding hike.”

Mr Barras said the campaign would take shape based on input from DBCA, WAPOL and Mt Barker SES along with local government authorities and tourism operators.

“We intend to use engaging content to reach our target audience, which includes people of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, men and women, seniors and youth, who travel to the Great Southern to hike a Grade Four or Five trail.”

Mr Barras said the Outdoors Great Southern team hoped to roll out the campaign prior to winter 2023.

HikeSafe GS joins the growing list of programs offered at Outdoors Great Southern, including:

  • GSWAN is a program aimed at increasing women’s confidence to recreate outdoors, with skills workshops and programs in hiking, mountain biking, paddling and camping.
  • Kids Adventure Club is offered term by term to children in school Years Four to Six. Activities so far have included camping, bushwalking, fishing, meal prep and cooking over a campfire, surfing, sailing, hiking and kayaking.
  • Trail Carers is an ongoing program where volunteers register to be invited to trail stewardship activities as they arise. The sociable nature of the group has already proved popular, with a group of 16 group members participating in trail maintenance activities at locations such Luke Penn Trail.

For more information about child or adult participation programs, please register your interest here.

For information about Outdoors Great Southern, visit outdoorsgreatsouthern.org.au, or find us on Facebook or Instagram.