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Spatial distribution of coastal access tracks and trails in the western Kimberley

Kobryn, H.T.ORCID: 0000-0003-1004-7593, Beckley, L.E. and Gibbons, D. (2015) Spatial distribution of coastal access tracks and trails in the western Kimberley. In: Western Australian Marine Science Institution (WAMSI) Research Conference, 30 March - 1 April, Perth, Western Australia.


The proliferation of informal access tracks enables unmanaged recreational activity in remote coastal areas and such tracks can directly and indirectly impact the coastal environment.

With the aim of enhancing the capacity of conservation managers to address this problem, coastal access tracks in the western Kimberley region of northern Australia were mapped using recent, high resolution ALOS panchromatic satellite imagery.

We mapped tracks within the 10 km buffer of the Mean High Water Mark and track density was evaluated in relation to proximity to settlements and main roads. Tracks accessing the shoreline were analysed per shoreline type. We mapped a total of 1,600 km of coastal tracks and nearly 1000 coastal access points.

Significant differences were found between areas east and west of King Sound; only of tracks and 14 coastal access points were east of King Sound. There was also a large, significant difference in average track disturbance density between the study area to the east (9 m2/ha) and west (89 m2/ha) of King Sound.

Track densities were examined for potential association with variables such as tenure, type of coast, distance from settlements and main roads. We found that land tenure classes that restrict human access, the relative attractiveness of geomorphology, and a travel impedance effect related to the proximity of formal roads and isolated human structures, are factors that significantly influence the spatial distribution and density of coastal access tracks.

On the basis of these findings, we make several recommendations with respect to the management of coastal access tracks in the western Kimberley.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
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