A considerable amount of trails planning and construction has been undertaken in SEQ with more than $12 million expenditure on trails planning and development since 2002. As a consequence, there are more than 600 regional and district trails, with a total length of some 3000 kilometres, which offer a great variety of opportunities. However, these trails do not form a cohesive integrated network. Trails within SEQ have been developed across single or multiple tenures, including those managed by State and local government agencies and private freehold landowners. Regardless of the public or private nature of the land ownership and/or trail operation, the planning, construction and management of trails and the regulation of trail-users are subject to a complex combination of laws, policies, approval processes and planning and management responsibilities involving all three levels of government.
However, at present, there is no effective coordination of recreation trails legislation, policy, planning, development or management. No State government agency has sole responsibility for outdoor recreation generally or for co-ordinating recreation trails planning, development and/or management. There is no effective regional level coordination between the State government agencies and/or local governments involved in recreation trail planning, construction, activity regulation and management. Each State government agency and each local government has developed a unique approach to each of these matters. Because there is no effective coordination between agencies, inconsistencies exist across a number of areas which impact upon trails planning, development and management.
The Queensland Outdoor Recreation Federation (QORF), as Project Managers, has developed the South East Queensland Regional Trails Strategy (SEQRTS) for the Council of Mayors (SEQ), and four Queensland Government agencies (Health, Sport and Recreation Queensland, Natural Resources, Mines and Water and the Environmental Protection Agency). The purpose of the SEQRTS is to inform and guide future investment in recreation trail planning, development and management. The desired long-term outcome of the SEQRTS project is to facilitate the development of a network of regional and district trails for all trail-dependant recreational uses – built, managed and promoted as a high-quality regional network providing an outstanding and appropriate diversity of opportunities for trail users.
The focal area for the SEQRTS is the 18 local governments that constitute the Council of Mayors (SEQ) together with the Tweed Shire in northern New South Wales as this area provides recreation trail links to SEQ. In addition, the regional recreation trail opportunities and developments in adjacent local authority areas (in both Queensland and northern New South Wales) were considered.