The Pilbara’s red-dirt landscape could provide the backdrop for world-class walking, riding, cycling and driving trails under a new plan set to advance trail development across the region. The Pilbara Trails Strategy is being spearheaded by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in partnership with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Pilbara Development Commission, traditional owners, local governments and the tourism industry. It follows the guidance set out by the WA Strategic Trails blueprint that provides for the co-ordinated planning, development and management of quality trails and trail experiences across the State. DLGSC Pilbara regional manager Simone Fountain said this initial planning stage was set to inform decisions for the development of additional stages of a Pilbara Regional Master Plan. “The master-planning process aims to identify the current status of plans within each local government area and identify the immediate opportunities and future processes required to advance trail development across the region,” she said. At its ordinary council meeting last Tuesday, the Shire of Ashburton pledged its commitment to the strategy, endorsing financial support for the next stage of the master plan. Shire president Kerry White said this was an excellent opportunity to further enhance the shire across the region. “Council recognises the economic and tourism benefit from being part of this program and considers the development of trails in our region a valuable tourist attraction as well as an opportunity for tourists and our community to experience the unique landscape and natural amenities on our doorstep,” she said. Stage one of the planning phase is due to conclude this year, with additional stages of planning required throughout all of 2021.