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Trails Forum 2022 save the date with an image of mountain bike riders on a track in the bush
Trails WA logoWAITOC logoWALGA logo

The 2022 WA Trails forum will focus on the planning and construction of mountain bike and hiking trails close to Perth and other strategic priorities.

This forum is brought to you in partnership with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), Western Australian Indigenous Tour Operators Council (WAITOC), Trails WA and the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA).

This year’s keynote speaker is Galeo Saintz. Galeo is a conservation adventurer, trail founder and mountain wilderness guide. A founding member of numerous conservation NGOs including the mountain trail initiative Rim of Africa and the biodiversity corridor initiative Eden to Addo in South Africa. Galeo is also the founding Chair of the World Trails Network, an international initiative championing the international trails industry and promoting the world’s leading trails and trail destinations.

The forum will also be the platform for the launch of the Western Australian Strategic Trails Blueprint 2022-2027. The blueprint is an overarching guide for consistent and coordinated planning, development and management of quality trails and trail experiences across Western Australia. It provides a vision, guiding principles, strategic directions, and actions for consideration across the State by Government, trail managers, landholders, trail support groups, tourism operators and the community.

There will be opportunities to network with other key industry stakeholders throughout the forum, including at an industry sundowner. 

This event will book out quickly so don’t delay your registration. For any queries regarding the 2022 WA Trails Forum please contact or telephone 61 8 9492 9902.

Registration and payment

Registrations close 5pm 19 October 2022. This event will book out quickly, so don’t delay your registration.

Payments are made at the point of registration through the ticketing platform. If you want to pay via invoice, please email

You will receive a confirmation email and tax receipt once your registration is complete.

If you have any queries regarding your registration, please email these through to


If you are seeking further information regarding event and venue accessibility, please contact Orazio Santalucia directly for support at

Event schedule

Please note this schedule of presenters is subject to change.

 8:30 amOptional Cultural SessionWalter McGuire Director - Go Cultural
 9:30 amWelcome to CountryWalter McGuire (TBC)Director - Go Cultural
 9:40amForum WelcomeErin Gauntlet Deputy Director General, DLGSC
 9:45 amOpening Address
Launch: WA Strategic Trails Blueprint
Hon Samantha RoweParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Sport and Recreation
 9:55 amKeynote Presentation: Why Trails Matter — Insights from the World Trails Report 2022Galeo SaintzChair, World Trails Network
 10.40 amPresentation of Trails AwardDavid ForsterOn behalf of the previous recipients
 10:45 amMorning Tea  
 11:15 amStrategic Trails Blueprint: What are the take-a-ways.Steve BennettDLGSC Senior Policy Officer – Trails
 11:30Aboriginal Heritage – A land of opportunity.Gabby SimoniWAITOC
 11:45WA Trails Snapshot: An overview of the major trails projects underway across WA.Rod AnnearAssistant Director, Parks and Visitor Services DBCA
 12:00Developing Great Trails: The practical application of the “Trail Development Process”.Kerstin StenderCo-ordinator Recreation and Trails, Parks and Visitor Servicers DBCA
 12:15 Lunch  
 1:00Trails in the City of Cockburn: Rory GarvenCity of Cockburn, Environmental Management, Policy, and Planning
 1:15Trails in the City of FremantleRyan AbbottCity of Fremantle, Manager Parks, and Landscape
 1:30Trails in the City of VincentDavid MacLennanCity of Vincent Chief Executive Officer
 1:45Trails in the City of StirlingSimone PastorCity of Stirling, Service Lead, Leisure Services
 2:00Local Government PanelFacilitator - DLGSC 
2:30Mountain Biking in WAMarg McIlroyMountain Bike Manager - WestCycle 
2:45State Perspective Trails WAScott DrysdaleBoard member – Trails WA Inc.
3:00International PerspectiveGaleo SaintzChair (outgoing) - World Trails Network
3:10Mentee voting. Download the app and have your sayFacilitator – Rod AnnearDeputy Director Parks and Visitor Services, DBCA
3:30Forum Close  
3:45Industry Sundowner  


Global Impact of trails & International Perspective World Trails Network

Galeo Saintz holding up his thumb
Galeo Saintz, World Trails Network

Galeo is a conservation adventurer, trail founder and mountain wilderness guide. A founding member of numerous conservation NGOs including the mountain trail initiative Rim of Africa and the biodiversity corridor initiative Eden to Addo in South Africa. Galeo is also the founding Chair of the World Trails Network, an international initiative championing the international trails industry and promoting the world’s leading trails and trail destinations.

WA Trails Snapshot: projects underway across the State and Developing Great Trails: Trail Development Process

Rod Annear with his dog
Rod Annear, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA)

Rod Annear been in protected area management for more than 40 years. He has worked as a National Park Ranger, natural area interpreter and has overseen the planning and implementation of capital works developments in parks across Western Australia (WA).  He is currently the Assistant Director for Parks and Visitor Services with the Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions in WA. Balancing community expectations for facilities and services in parks with available resources and protecting the nature and culture of parks is an ongoing challenge.  

Rod loves working with communities to deliver facilities and services that benefit WA and help nurture relationships with nature. He works with a team of creative designers, interpreters, architects and community partners to deliver high quality, innovative experiences and facilities to Western Australian national parks. He can be a bit nerdy when it comes to gadgets and has a weakness for coffee, hazy pale ale and 1970s fashion.

Developing Great Trails: Trail Planning 101

Kerstin Stender in a helicopter
Kerstin Stender — Coordinator Recreation and Trails

Kerstin Stender heads up the Recreation and Trails team in the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Western Australia. She has a Masters in Tourism Development which focused on sustainable trail governance. Born in Germany, Kerstin enjoys Australian and worldwide natural environments and is often found hiking, cycling, paddling or recreating in protected areas.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions has developed the 8-Stage Trail Development Process to standardise methodology for any tenure with a focus on conservation estate. It builds rigor into planning, design and construction to ensure trail proposals are transformed into high-quality, low-maintenance assets and not liabilities. The development process not just provides best practice, but also offers the most time and cost effective outcome and transparency of process.

Aboriginal Heritage — A land of opportunity

Gabby Simoni, Operations Manager,
WAITOC Gabby Simoni

Gabby has worked in the Western Australian tourism industry for more than 20 years honing her skills within the private and government sectors.  With 15 years working at a WA-based Regional Tourism Organisation (RTO), Gabby has extensive knowledge in Tourism Marketing and Destination Management, with an understanding of the challenges regional tourism communities face and how working collaboratively with shires and tourism stakeholders can transform communities, adding to Western Australia’s unique tourism assets.

WAITOC has been successful in securing the World Indigenous Tourism Summit for 2023 and continues to create new partnerships with prospective stakeholders in order to improve Cultural understanding, respect and positive social outcomes for the Australian Aboriginal People and diversify to create a strong sustainable business model.

Trails in the City of Cockburn

Portrait of Rory Garven
Rory Garven, Environmental Co-ordinator, City of Cockburn

Rory Garven id the the Environmental Coordinator at the City of Cockburn. Sitting within the Environmental Policy and Planning division, Rory’s role is to protect and enhance the city’s natural environment. The presentation will focus on the delivery of the city’s Trails Master Plan and will include an overview of some of the successes and challenges experienced during some of the key projects. Case studies will include the Manning Park Mountain Bike Trails investigations and the Coogee Maritime Trail.

Trails in the City of Fremantle

Portrait of Ryan Abbott
Ryan Abbott, Manager — Parks and Landscapes, City of Fremantle

Ryan is the Manager of Parks and Landscape at the City of Fremantle. With a background in landscape architecture, Ryan is passionate about site responsive, innovative and sustainable landscapes that deliver high quality spaces for the community. Ryan has been involved in the planning for the Booyeembara Park Mountain Bike Trail since its inception by the Fremantle Mountain Bike Collective and is excited to see this project open to the public shortly.

Trails in the City of Stirling

Portrait of Simone Pastor
Simone Pastor, City of Stirling

Simone has 20 years' experience in the industry, specifically the local government sector, across a range of service areas including strategy, club development and community infrastructure planning. Currently the Service Lead — Leisure Services at the City of Stirling with remit for planning and community engagement in relation to community infrastructure. Simone will discuss the city’s recent experiences and local changing participation trends in relation to the provision of urban mountain biking facilities in the city.  She will highlight how the city is responding to community needs through recent projects and planned initiatives.

Dave MacLennan — City of Vincent CEO

Portrait of David McLennan

David MacLennan is the CEO of the City of Vincent. He has extensive public policy and strategy experience at local, state, federal and international levels. David was previously Assistant Director General at the Department of Planning. He is a former diplomat with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with overseas posting experience in the UK, Peru, Mexico and Papua New Guinea. David is a graduate of UWA and has a Masters of Management from ANU. His passions are family and fitness.

The Path Forward: building Western Australia’s trails brand — Trails WA

Portrait of Scott Drysdale
Scott Drysdale — Board member, Trails WA

Scott Drysdale is Paddy Pallin’s Corporate Sales and Community Outreach Officer for Western Australia. Having initially trained and operated as an expedition guide for several years, Scott transitioned to management roles within the Outdoor Retail Industry. In his current role, Scott aims to grow and develop an inclusive, diverse, highly knowledgeable, and active community that are passionate advocates of the wild places in which they recreate.

Mountain Biking in WA

Portrait of Marg McIlroy
Marg McIlroy, Mountain Bike Manager, Westcycle

Marg’s passion for mountain biking started 10 years ago. After competing in several XC races, she quickly discovered a strong desire to improve mountain biking opportunities in WA and joined the West Australian Mountain Bike Association (WAMBA) Committee in 2011. Marg has clocked up many volunteer hours from marshalling to trail advocacy work and everything in between and has been actively involved in a diverse range of projects, including the WA MTB Management Guidelines, the Goat Farm MTB Park redevelopment and the delivery of the WA Mountain Bike Strategy. Marg has developed a strong appreciation of the challenges facing the mountain bike industry which is well utilised in her role at WestCycle.

Strategic Trails Blueprint Overview

Steve Bennett holding a laptop in a kayak
Steve Bennett, Senior Policy Officer — Trails, Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries

Steve Bennett has enjoyed 42 years working in recreation and trails and is currently employed at DLGSC as Senior Policy Officer — Trails. Steve has worked across government and industry to help guide the development of sustainable trails state-wide. This includes working on the WA Sustainable Trails Blueprint, WA Mountain Biking Strategy and Hiking Strategy along with a myriad of regional trails master plans.

Steve has a particular strength in bringing stakeholders from across state and local government together with local community groups to deliver great outcomes that benefit the whole community. Steve will be discussing the recently launched WA Sustainable Trails Blueprint with a focus on opportunities and challenges for the trails community.

Trails Forum 2022 registrations now open with an image of mountain bike riders on a track in the bush

Registrations are closed



$33 (+$22 for the optional industry sundowner)


The University Club of Western Australia
Hackett Drive
Crawley WA
Page reviewed 10 May 2022