Darren Edwards, founder of Trail Hiking Australia, is excited to announce the launch of a new and exciting feature for his site, www.trailhiking.com.au. The free-to-use site, which has been developed as a non-commercial hobby, was launched in February 2016 and since that time has gone from strength-to-strength.
Part of the challenge when planning a hike is to understand the Trail Access and Features that relate to any given hike. It is important to know if the trail-head is accessible using a 2WD vehicle or if a 4WD is required, if the access road is gravel or bitumen, steep or winding. Are there toilet facilities available at the start of the hike and if so, are they wheelchair accessible. These questions do not stop there. All hikers also need to understand the features of the trail itself and this is particularly true when it comes to planning accessible hikes when wheelchairs and strollers form part of the equation.
“While my site has always contained statistical information relating to each trail, sadly this additional and useful information was missing”. Edwards said.
The Challenge
“I have wanted to add this information to all trails for some time now to improve the hiking experience. The challenge I faced was how. It was logistically impossible for me, as one person, to research all the trail information, add it to every trail and most importantly, keep this information current. Trail conditions, access to the trail and facilities at the trail-head can change from week to week so I needed a way to enlist community support in order to add and update this information on completion of every hike”. Edwards said.
Some Sad News
Sadly, in early June 2018, Darren was contacted by a wonderful family with some very sad news. At 36yrs Michael Lee was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease and given 3-5 years to live. On the 3rd June 2018, after a loving, spiritual and adventurous life, Michael passed away peacefully. Michael was an avid nature enthusiast, hiker, swimmer and cyclist and the family wanted to honour his life by giving to a cause that Michael would have been proud to support. Darren is so humbled that they chose to support his site and the outdoor community.
Accessible Trails and More
Through generous donations, in honour of Michael, Darren has been able to develop new tools to identify accessible hikes and walkways, but this did not seem enough, he wanted to do more and his enthusiasm did not stop there. As part of his mission to further the development of Australian trails and increase the awareness of hiking as a major health benefit to the Australian public Darren wanted to create a tool that would provide current and editable trail information for the entire outdoor community.
“In memory of Michael Lee, I am excited to announce a fantastic 'community driven' tool that will now display all Trail Access and Trail Feature information relating to every hike”. Edwards said.
How does it work?
Two new sections appear on every trail and will, by default, have no features set (“as I could not possibly know them all”. Edwards said). If the trail information has not been added, users will simply see a question mark (?) as an indication that they are invited to edit the trail conditions.
Registered users can simply click to edit the conditions, selecting relevant trail access and feature information. This information will be updated dynamically for all site users and can be easily edited as people visit the trail and note that trail conditions have changed.
This powerful new tool will change the face of this site and will make the available trail information so much more useful for anyone heading out on their next adventure. Find your next hike, take note of the access and trail conditions and when you return, head back to www.trailhiking.com.au and update the conditions so that the hiking community can benefit from your recent experience.