The unique environmental qualities of Rottnest Island require protection and responsible management.
The Wadjemup Bidi is one of a number of initiatives the Rottnest Foundation in partnership with the Rottnest Island Authority and affiliated volunteer groups are using to achieve this goal.
The Rottnest Foundation is actively seeking funds to support the implementation of the Wadjemup Bidi.
By supporting this project, you will be contributing to a 45 km network of integrated trails that aid to control and manage visitor access by connecting Rottnest’s beautiful natural features to its cultural history in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The Wadjemup Bidi is broken into 5 sections, with each section defined by its own colour. A symbol of an osprey is used to depict the trail and is located on all the directional markers. The osprey is a medium-size raptor that inhabits most coastal areas and off-shore islands in Australia, including Rottnest.
The osprey remains with the same mate for life and their nests, known as stacks, are some of the largest and most durable natural structures in Australia. Some stacks on the island are known to be in excess of 70 years old. The birds are faithful to their nesting sites, using the same nest for many years and adding a little more each time they return.
Wadjemup Bidi- Five Sections
Ngank Yira Bidi (Uncover Bickley Battery)
Gabbi Karniny Bidi (Discover the Salt Lakes)
Wardan Nara Bidi (Relax along Salmon Bay)
Karlinyah Bidi (Experience the Northern Beaches)
Ngank Wen Bidi (Explore the West End)
Subject to acquiring the necessary funding, it is expected that the Wadjemup Bidi will take 5 years to implement (2014-2018).
To date, the Rottnest Foundation has contributed $1,149,312.91 towards the implementation of this project.
Ample research has been conducted on Rottnest Island to determine the effects of recreational use on the Island’s natural resources. Research has determined that uncontrolled access to the Rottnest coastline for sightseeing, fishing and general recreation activities has resulted in the creation of numerous tracks; causing significant environmental damage to the surrounding coastal environment and vegetation. Popular bays are experiencing environmental degradation at a faster pace.
It was imperative to find a strategy to minimise the pressures of tourism on the natural environment, but the challenge was not only to arrest deterioration in the Island ecology but also to improve it.
The concept of a consolidated and integrated walk trail to manage erosion and risks associated with recreational use of the Island evolved in 2002 which developed into the Wadjemup Bidi project that we are witnessing being implemented today.
The primary objective of this project is to use the Wadjemup Bidi as a management tool to address conservation issues associated with visitor use of the Island.
– reducing environmentally damaging informal access created by visitors, by formalising access and directing foot traffic
– revegetating damaged areas and ad-hoc trails with native seedlings
The secondary objective of this project is to provide a new low impact recreational opportunity that connects the community to the Island’s unique natural features, abundance of wildlife and rich cultural heritage.
This will be achieved by:
– establishing facilities (made of sustainable products) that improve visitor experience
– creating new eco- tourism experiences that utilise the trail
– providing educative & sustainable messages through the use of interpretation products, including incorporating Aboriginal elements to increase awareness, knowledge and appreciation of Aboriginal culture
The Wadjemup Bidi has attracted long-term community support from four integral volunteer groups, the Winnit Club, the Rottnest Society, Conservation Volunteers and our newest member; Rottnest Voluntary Guides Association. These groups have committed to provide in-kind support towards the implementation of the project and representatives from each group sit on the Wadjemup Bidi Steering Group which was formed to collaboratively drive the project. The Rottnest Foundation chairs this meeting which occurs once every three months. Volunteer support will also help maintain & conserve the trail once completed.
The Wadjemup Bidi project has been issued a letter of in-principle support from the Whadjuk Aboriginal Traditional owners. Consultation with the Aboriginal community is ongoing throughout the project.
Long Term Forecast
The Wadjemup Bidi project is a major tourism and conservation initiative which is set to greatly enhance the Rottnest Island experience, become an internationally recognised world class attraction and exceptional environmental, cultural and tourism show piece for Western Australia.
On its completion, the Wadjemup Bidi will generate new ecotourism experiences & options including cultural walking tours, eco nature based wildlife tours, sculpture exhibitions, aboriginal art installations, school excursions, corporate educational activities, corporate challenge events, team building opportunities, school holiday programs and marathons (to name a few).
This will encourage spending in the region and generate employment opportunities on the Island.
By the year 2020 the Wadjemup Bidi will be realising the benefits of its success as its very own tourism product and has the potential to become another iconic WA experience and nature based show piece like the well-known and established WA trails -Bibbulmun Track, Cape to Cape Track and Munda Biddi Trail.