19 Feb WA: THE MTB Destination?
Tasmania, New Zealand, Victoria, Whistler, Western Australia?
Can WA stand up as an equal to the MTB destinations found scattered across the rest of Australia and overseas?
Some say a big resounding YES. Others roll their eyes and think that WA has missed the boat. Have we??
Do you know that Tasmania’s journey began in 2008 with a report Mountain bike tourism – market profile for Tasmania produced by Tourism Tasmania. Think of this as a, “hmmm what is this mountain biking stuff all about and can we benefit from it?”
The State Government then provided funding to Sport and Recreation Tasmania to develop the Tasmanian Mountain Bike Plan in 2008-2009. This provided a framework for the coordinated development, management and marketing of mountain biking opportunities in, you guessed it, Tassie.
Hmm sound similar??? The (Former) Department of Sport and Recreation in collaboration with (former) Department of Parks and Wildlife with help from Lotterywest provided funding to develop the WA Mountain Bike Strategy 2015-2020. Further funding was realised towards the 3-year implementation of the strategy.
This document opened the doors that led to the creation of the South West Mountain Bike Master Plan (released 2015) and the Perth and Peel Mountain Bike Master Plan (released 2017). Both were developed to guide future strategic investment in mountain biking across different regions of Western Australia.
Now, back to Tassie, in 2015 Northern Tasmania Development presented the Potential for Mountain Biking in North Eastern Tasmania: market demand and economic assessment.
The Blue Derby Mountain Bike Project was a $3.1 million joint initiative between Dorset and Break O’Day Councils, assisted by a $2.5 million grant from the Federal Government. It involved the construction of an 80 km network of trails at Derby and within the adjacent Blue Tier Forest Reserve, in the stunningly beautiful north-east corner of Tasmania.
Stage 1 of the all-new 80 km network of single track mountain bike trails, in and around the historic town of Derby, was launched right on schedule on February 7th, 2015.
The rest, they say, is history.
The story for WA is still very much unwritten. The tireless effort over the past decades from members of the mountain bike community has got WA to where it is today. With more and more ‘feel good’ stories from around the world acknowledging the positive impact of what mountain biking can bring to communities and the potential to increase tourism profiles, WA is at the crossroads of very exciting times.
Our state, with its infamous pea gravel and beautiful landscape, is riding the same singletrack path as Tassie previously rode.
Could it only be a matter of IF or WHEN?
Blue Derby – Economic Impacts
- Economist Saul Eslake reported – 250% increase in visitation to the Derby Region in the past 2 years “reflecting the region’s success in attracting mountain bike riders to the newly developed trails”.
- Visitation pattern with riders on average staying 4 nights in Derby and 6 nights touring Tasmania…generating $30m in economic activity – Tasmanian Tourism
- [Mayor Howard Dorset Council] – Not a bad return on investment – a $3m trail cost generating $30m in tourism, creating 35 direct jobs in Derby.
- Social benefits witnessed by Derby – disengaged youth transformed with purpose by the bike trails