Find out the latest news about the Track and the Foundation before you set off for your next walk.
23 October 2020
Walkers might recently have passed small teams of BTF volunteers upgrading erosion control measures along stretches of the Track in the Perth Hills. This is the start of a concerted campaign to improve erosion control along the Track – to repair existing damage and halt further erosion.
The trail corridor is always vulnerable to the erosion effects of surface water. Good trail design can help minimise erosion by careful alignment across slopes rather than straight up or down. The alignment is complemented by structures built into the tread, which divert surface runoff away from the trail towards the downhill side.
Most walkers will be familiar with the traditional water bars. An alternative now being installed is known as a “rolling grade dip”, which is a couple of metres long and incorporates an apron, ditch, and ramp. The apron collects any runoff coming down the tread and the ramp dams it, forcing it to flow off the Track via the ditch.
The current campaign is being coordinated and led by Support Volunteer Geoff Meates. So far, they have tackled sections including at Jorgensen Park, near South Ledge, either side of Ball Creek CS and above Manns Gully, the steep descent to the Helena River Bridge and either side of Waalegh CS.
We really appreciate the time and effort put into this work by Geoff, other Support Volunteers, and the maintenance volunteers for each section involved.
22 October 2020
The Foundation's partnership with Alcoa provides $10,000 a year towards projects undertaken by the Support Volunteer team. Each year we invite Alcoa's employees to enjoy a walk on the Track with our guides and this year the group were offered the opportunity to see how these funds were spent at Swamp Oak Campsite, south of Dwellingup.
Two of the three BTF guides on the walk were also Support Volunteers who were able to explain the work involved in extending the shelter and improving facilities to increase the capacity of this popular campsite.
Alcoa Willowdale Mine Manager, Trever Stockil, said the partnership Alcoa has with the Bibbulmun Track Foundation is a very important one. “On our walk we heard from our guides Graham, Ce and Peter about the critical role that volunteers like them play in keeping the track and associated infrastructure maintained. Our guides shared a wealth of knowledge on local flora and fauna and my son and I had a fantastic day on the track. I feel very proud to work for a company that supports these volunteers to undertake their important work.”
Volunteer Guide Ce Kealley said “It was a pleasure to introduce the Alcoa group to the Track. We spotted quite a few wildflowers along the way and were treated to seeing the zamia palms bearing fruit. A highlight was being able to show the Alcoa employees the work undertaken as a result of our partnership, and for them to meet Graham and Peter who are part of the support volunteer team.”
19 October 2020
For me, walking through our natural environment is important. I feel I have a better connection with the land around me when I wander slowly through the landscape. The gradual change in the geology, flora and fauna is not something everyone has the privilege to experience. Walking is such a personal activity too. We can doddle along or climb a mountain depending on how our mood takes us. There is no pressure to meet deadlines or break records.
I really enjoy taking a break away from man-made sounds. Over time we learn to tune them out, but the abundance of everyday noises become apparent when we experience the stillness of the natural environment. Like many other people, I like to rise early and watch the night give way to the dawn. So many of us live in the city and miss out on seeing the colours change. I am always happy when the moon is still above the horizon as the sun comes up. I get to watch the moon transition from a luminous pearl, become almost translucent, then disappear, fading like a soap bubble. It’s fun to listen to the bush come alive in the morning too; it’s almost possible to tell the time by the different birds’ songs.
Over the years I have mostly enjoyed day hikes. Personally, I love looking up at a peak, picnic in hand, knowing that a panoramic view awaits. In January last year the idea of a multi-day hike began to play on my mind. I was living on the east coast when I stumbled upon the Bibbulmun Track website. I had to pass the idea over though because at the time I didn’t have any through hike experience. Instead, I went to France and walked the Camino from Le Puy en Velay to Compostela. After a few days rest in Santiago I caught a bus north and walked the Camiño dos Faros, the Lighthouse way, from Malpica to Finisterre. The two hikes were vastly different and I’m glad I got the opportunity to do both.
The idea of hiking the Bibbulmun Track in its entirety kept tumbling over and over in my mind, so I upped sticks and moved to Perth. I’m normally a rational person, so moving across the country to go for a walk seems a bit extreme but it was the only way I could really get to know the trail. I feel it’s incredibly important to have some bush skills and a firm understanding of the challenges that can come with multi-day through hikes. The adage ‘if you don’t know what could go wrong, you shouldn’t go’ is absolutely true. Volunteering on the track has given me the opportunity to meet some incredibly knowledgeable people. So many people here live and breathe the Bibbulmun and are happy to impart their wisdom to a newbie. Also, being able to learn about the work that has gone into and continues to go in to making the Track as successful as it is has been invaluable. I have to admit that in the past I have meandered along trails without a thought for why the trail I was on was so good. I wasn’t conscious of the monumental effort involved in creating and maintaining these paths. I’m happy to say I now have a better understanding and feel it’s my turn to contribute. I want other people to enjoy that same harmony that I have felt over the years.
Previously an assistant in community pharmacy, I am now studying a Diploma of Tourism Management at North Metro Tafe in Northbridge. I think hiking and health go hand in hand so it's a good transition to be now learning how to promote our great outdoors.
My section is 3 ½ hours from home. Initially it felt a bit daunting but now I actually look forward to my little road trip. I have a routine of putting on some good music and packing a generous supply of snacks and I happily cruise along. Once I turn off the main roads the music is off, the windows are down, and I take in the smell and sounds of the tall timbers.
The timeless feeling of the forest grabs me every time. The way it is silent but alive, powerful but nurturing. It has an enduring feeling that is missing from the man-made world that I exist in. I think all the volunteers have other hikers in mind when they do the maintenance work. After clearing the debris off the track I particularly like the idea that tired hikers don’t have an obstacle course to manoeuvre through in their last few kilometres. It’s a good feeling to know they can arrive safely with their heavy feet and weary bodies into their nights’ camp.
Boarding House Camp is tucked away in amongst beautiful old forest. It feels very secluded and sheltered. There are lots of little places to sit beside the river and enjoy the afternoon. It’s relaxing to have the sound of the water bubbling past. A little further upstream the river widens slightly and tumbles over the boulders to create a small section of rapids before it slows again to become almost still reflective pools.
I don’t think there’s a simply answer to why we volunteer. There are as many different reasons as there are different hikers. Regardless of why we started, the outcome is still the same, we all have a better environment to enjoy. I would highly recommend to anyone who has thought about volunteering to jump on board. There is something for everyone and it’s easier to get involved than you think. Being able to boast that you help out on a world-renowned trail is pretty cool too!
13 October 2020
Nine SVs set out from Rame Head campsite this morning on Day 1 of a four-day campaign to finish the Conspicuous Cliffs stabilisation. Clear skies and little wind made for hot hard working conditions hauling materials and equipment uphill by hand and with the aid of "Isadora", our electric wheelbarrow who could easily carry 90kgs up the steep slopes.
9 October 2020
“A group of seven employees from Newmont Mining have made a major contribution to restoration work at Mt Wells campsite. Over two days, the group worked under the supervision of BTF Support Volunteer Charlie Soord to paint the inside and outside of the shelter, the fascia and downpipes; and oil the staircase and viewing platform on the fire tower, the tables and the toilet cladding. They put in an amazing effort and left the shelter looking fresh and welcoming.
At the same time, other work included the installation of hooks, a new fire ring, shelter and campsite signage, new plywood to the bed platform in the single room, support brackets on the wooden windows and architraves around the internal window.
The leaking roof was fixed and the severely deteriorated stove was infilled with concrete as the only viable option to reduce further damage to the hut. Finally, chainsaw and brush cutter work removed excess vegetation around the building.
Newmont employees Ami Jamieson, Jo-Anne Batt, Sandra Sherwood, Abigail Ngui, Kimberley Stone, David Aldersea and Michael Staines contributed their time and energy.
Also, a big thanks to two hard working support volunteers Garry Ceriani and Dave Scott for their expertise and help.”