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A name change and rebrand for Bushwalking NSW?

A name change and rebrand for Bushwalking NSW?

I believe BNSW and bushwalking clubs in Australia need a change in name and a rebrand to remain strong and relevant into the future.

It is evident that most clubs in NSW and the ACT are not attracting younger members. This raises concerns regarding the long-term viability of our clubs and indeed the whole bushwalking club movement in our State and Territory. I am convinced a significant change is required; we need to ‘turn the ship around’.

As already expressed in a previous Opinion Piece, I believe the crux of our problem lies in the regrettably less-than-exciting image of bushwalking clubs. Our clubs are not widely perceived as exciting and cool, but regrettably as rather staid and boring, and increasingly, full of retirees (like me!). We need a subtle change of image, a rebrand, to help inspire and attract a younger cohort into our clubs, to re-energise our whole movement.

The need for a change in our names and terminology was also supported by results from the recent BNSW Outdoor adventure terminology survey. The survey, with over 170 respondents mostly from BNSW member clubs, revealed that 50% of respondents gave their first preference to hypothetical club names that included the term ‘Outdoor Adventure’, whilst only 8% gave their first preference to a club name with the sole term ‘Bushwalking’. A substantial majority of 83% agreed that a club name should include more than just ‘Bushwalking’ if other activities were also undertaken by the club (Figure 1).

As a key step in this rebranding process, I am advocating for the simple addition of a new term such as ‘Outdoor Adventure’ or merely just ‘Adventure’ into our names. Thus, for example, Bushwalking NSW might change to Bushwalking Adventure NSW. The fictional Highlands Bushwalking Club might change to Highlands Bushwalking Adventure Club.

I am convinced that such a relatively simple change would go a long way towards improving our brand and image, and reverse the aging and decline in our movement. Other measures will also be important in conjunction with the rebrand, such as enhancing social media presence, promoting the benefits of joining formal clubs and adopting welcoming measures for younger people.

BNSW expects to further explore opinions and avenues for a potential name change and rebrand during the 2024/2025 year.

Please consider this issue, and whether you support exploration of a possible simple name change and rebranding for Bushwalking NSW, and also for your own club. Please let BNSW know your thoughts by responding through the email below.

Jon Gray
Bushwalking NSW Vice President and Young People in Clubs (YPIC) Working Group.
Email: youngpeopleinclubs@bushwalkingnsw.org.au

 

Results – BNSW outdoor adventure terminology survey

Thank you to Paddy Pallin and Wild Magazine for providing great prizes!

By Jon Grey, BNSW Young People in Clubs Working Group, youngpeopleinclubs@bushwalkingnsw.org.au

The Terminology Survey aimed to examine people’s opinions and perceptions about the terminology currently used to describe bushwalking, related activities and associated clubs. It was exploring a proposition that naming and terminology used in conjunction with bushwalking clubs may influence the level of interest and desire to participate in our clubs, particularly from younger people.

The survey was open for the 4-month period to the end of January 2024, and had a total of 173 respondents. The key findings are summarised below, followed by a graphical presentation of the results.

Q1. Please rank the following terms from the most to least inspiring and ‘cool.

The three most popular terms were 1. outdoor adventuring; 2. Hiking; then 3. bushwalking, followed by wildwalking, trekking and walking. The precise ordering varied depending on the use of either a weighted score or first preference score system.

Q2. Rank the following Club names from most to least inspiring and ‘cool’. Which Club would you be most proud to be a member of?

The three most popular names for the fictional bushwalking club were: 1. Highlands Outdoor Adventure Club; 2. Highlands Bushwalking and Outdoor Adventure Club; and 3. Highland Hikers, which were all notably ahead of the Highlands Bushwalking Club. The two club names that contained the term ‘outdoor adventure’ received a combined 50% of first preferences, compared to just 8% for the club with ‘bushwalking’ alone.

Q3. Do you believe a club name should reflect more than bushwalking if other activities (eg, cycling, canyoning or kayaking) are undertaken?

83% of respondents strongly or slightly agreed that the name of a club should include more than bushwalking if other activities such as cycling, canyoning or kayaking were undertaken (including 55% who strongly agreed).

Q4. Would the name of an outdoor club or organisation influence your perception of how exciting, dynamic and ‘cool’ it was?

75% of respondents indicated that it was highly or somewhat likely that their perception of how exciting, dynamic and ‘cool’ a club or organisation was, would be influenced by its name.

Q5. If an outdoor club had an exciting, dynamic and ‘cool’ image, would this encourage you to join it and possibly participate in leadership roles?

59% of respondents indicated that they were highly or somewhat likely to be encouraged to join an outdoor club and possibly participate in leadership roles if it had an exciting, dynamic and ‘cool’ image.

Q9. Other comments?

Of the 73 specific comments received, there was a wide range of views. 34% supported the importance of terminology, 49% were neutral or raised other issues to consider, and 16% were clearly not supportive of the importance of terminology. The comments emphasised the importance of other issues besides terminology such as the need for a strong social media presence (with images portraying younger generations); a welcoming club culture and varied club programs. 73 respondents made comments, ranging from:

    • Supportive of the importance of terminology: 34%

    e.g. ‘Image can be everything when it comes to membership’;

    Words matter! the name is important’

    • Neutral or raising other issues: 49%

    e.g. ‘I would love to join outdoor clubs but cannot usually see myself in any of the imagery. It is usually people 30+ years older than me’

    • Statements clearly not supportive of importance of terminology: 16%

    e.g. ‘I think terminology is probably much less of an issue than technology and culture of clubs’

Respondent personal data  (total 173)

  • There were no significant differences between responses from the younger to older generations of respondents.

The results of the survey, particularly the hard statistical data, do overall suggest the potential importance of naming and terminology in the bushwalking and outdoor adventure movement for enhancing our image and possibly appealing more to younger generations. There is a strong preference for naming and terminology that includes ‘outdoor adventure’ and for names that indicate more than just ‘bushwalking ‘where other outdoor activities are undertaken. A large proportion of respondents indicated they might consider participating in leadership roles if a club or organisation had an exciting image. The qualitative comments reflected a range of views but highlighted the importance of multiple issues in attracting younger members into clubs.

A conclusion from the results would appear to be that individual clubs should at least consider possible slight renaming and rebranding of their clubs, with an enhanced focus on outdoor adventure activity in addition to bushwalking alone. Such a change, in conjunction with other measures such as enhanced social media presence, welcoming attitudes and promotion of the benefits of joining our clubs, may revitalise our clubs and possibly help attract younger generations.

Age Range (Q6):

 

 

Bushwalking Activity with (Q7):

Jon Grey

BNSW Young People in Clubs Working Group

mailto:youngpeopleinclubs@bushwalkingnsw.org.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crown Roads Access

Crown Road Management Policy Review
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council adjoins national parks including Morton and Budawang and is reviewing its Crown roads policy. Bushwalkers access many NPs via Crown roads and any disposal would remove this access. Bushwalking NSW recently submitted the following comments to Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council regarding its review of Crown Roads policy:

“Crown Roads form an important access route for bushwalkers who wish to visit National Parks and other public reserves. Conversion of Crown Roads to other land status such as sale to a private land owner can permanently close off these access routes. Bushwalking NSW represents around 70 clubs with around 11,000 members in NSW and the ACT and we request that the Council considers the potential impact on access to national parks and other public reserves before reaching a decision on whether to support the conversion of a Crown Road. Further, we request that Bushwalking NSW is consulted prior to any decision being made.”

Chardon Award 2023 – Leonie Bell

Some of you may remember that in 2013 BNSW held a Presidents Meeting to brainstorm ideas on promoting and running bushwalking clubs. I voiced an opinion that although the Confederation website had been great when it started, that it no longer met the needs of the organisation and we needed a new modern website. I was therefore gratified when the committee set aside some money and commissioned David Morrison to project manage a new website in February 2014. David called for volunteers to help write the content and since I had been so vocal about the website, I felt I should volunteer my writing skills for the project.

The website would have three aims: First to provide communication with member clubs, second to promote bushwalking and club membership to people considering engaging in the sport, and third as the state’s peak bushwalking organisation, to be the go- to place for accurate and current information about bushwalking.

Once the website was launched I was asked to update the content as required. Every so often Kirsten sends an email with a request to add or update information, or occasionally to write a new page. The website is much larger today and more comprehensive when than we first started.

Back in 2014 it didn’t occur to me that almost 10 years later I would still be working on the website. I had never edited a website before and I am grateful to have learnt quite a bit about the process, although I am certainly no expert.

I would encourage you to look at the content. The information is not only useful for people searching for a club, but aimed at new and experienced bushwalkers, and club committees. It contains some ideas for managing your club, lots of safety information, and details of Bushwalking NSW meetings, policies and submissions.

I was very surprised and honoured to receive the nomination for the Chardon award in connection with this work. I would like to thank the Bushwalking NSW committee, and Kirsten our wonderful Executive Officer who keeps us organised and on track, for the opportunity to work on the website.

Leonie Bell

 

A few words from the president – March 2021

As we head into what we all hope will be a better bushwalking year than 2020, I expect some of you are spending non-walking time pouring over maps, websites, books … making plans of hikes and trips that might or might not happen. There is a great joy in reading, thinking and planning about bushwalking and travelling, a joy only surpassed by actually getting out there and doing it!

I was recently browsing in my local bookshop when I stumbled (not a good bushwalker trait) upon a new book, The Ways of the Bushwalker. Something new, I pondered. No, I discovered, as I expect you already knew, that this is a 2020 update of the original 2007 book. Author Melissa Harper has done a marvellous job of updating her history of bushwalking in Australia. She helps us understand how bushwalking is the most popular way for Australians to engage with the bush. The book is a good reminder as to why so many people join bushwalking clubs and maintain their connection with the land. The core of this book, of course, are the people who make bushwalking what it is.

Also on my about-to-read pile is Kindred—A Cradle Mountain Love Story. Kate Legge’s account is of two early 20th century unconventional adventurers who, standing on top of Cradle Mountain, imagined a national park for all. They pioneered eco-tourism, probably long before such a word could even be conceived of, but never saw the vision completed. Their legacy is important, if for no more reason than the inspiration for generations after them to stand up and defend wilderness.

Talking of inspiration, anyone with an historic bent will delight in a book I got lost in last year. Dead Reckoning—Tales of the Great Explorers 1800-1900 brings the reader into the remarkable world of 19th century exploration and travel. Populated with characters undertaking truly mad enterprises, with varying degrees of success, the book reminds us just how unforgiving the world can be. Although our own bushwalking may seem rather tame in comparison to the travels of these explorers, any bushwalking reader will understand the drive behind these tales.

And to close, one final book to comment on, picked at random from my bookshelf: Barry Stone’s The 50 Greatest Walks of the World. This might be useful if you are heading to Britain to walk—fat chance this year—where it seems that most of the world’s greatest walks reside. Curiously, there are only two such walks in Australia: the Uluru Circuit and the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb! At least New Zealand gets a true hike, the Milford Sound. All seems a bit minimalist compared to the seven-moth Appalachian Way and the thirty-five day Camino de Santiago. But then again, why complain when we all know that there are some of the greatest walks and hikes right here on our doorstep in New South Wales. Maybe we just keep the knowledge to ourselves?

 

Bill Boyd,

President

Bushwalking NSW Inc.

Keep exploring, be amazed!

A few words from the President

As we reach the end of 2020, I am sure everyone is taking some time to reflect on the Year We Didn’t Expect! Understatement of the year! Having said that, despite everything the world has had to deal with, bushwalkers in NSW have been relatively fortunate. After the false start to the bushwalking year, and several months of restricted activities, bushwalking has taken off again. I hear that many, if not all, our clubs have been active – maybe making up for lost time, back on the bush tracks of our wonderful bushwalking State. My own club, for example, is up to its former frenetic form, and I am hard pressed to keep up with all that the members are doing. Fortunately, I am my club’s newsletter editor, so I receive reports on everything. It’s a great way to keep up to date and contribute back to the club. This is my roundabout way to encourage everyone to think about contributing to your club. I do appreciate that club committee work is not everyone’s cup of tea, but don’t forget that all our clubs (and indeed Bushwalking NSW itself) relies on volunteers. If meetings and treasury and secretarial stuff do not appeal to you, then you might find other roles – newsletter editor, social secretary, events, walks, kayaking, coordinator, etc. etc. Just check in with your club and see how you can contribute to your local bushwalking community.

This is also my roundabout way of sending out a great big Thank You to all the volunteers to run clubs, events, manage club web sites, edit newsletters, lobby, etc. etc. Our own office relies on volunteers also, and I am sure you will join me in thanking them for their quite self-less behind-the-scene work. How did this newsletter come together? Volunteer …

Many of you will now be aware that Bushwalking NSW has finally refreshed its Constitution. Yes, we have a 21st century constitution. After a bit of hard work, it is updated to better reflect the way Bushwalking NSW works, to better represent the demographics of our member clubs, and to ensure we meet legal and other statutory requirements. I send out another huge big Thank You, this time to everyone who has, over the last couple of years, engaged the Bushwalking NSW Management Committee with reviews, suggestions, arguments one way or another. It has made our job much easier to hear what the members have to say. Many thanks, also, the members of the Management Committee who have worked hard and long at finding ways to accommodate all the requirements for the new Constitution. And finally, another Thank You to everyone who attended the Special Meeting to finalise and approve the new Constitution.

I expect, however, that many of you at the Special Meeting were more interested in hearing from our guest speaker, Hugh Flowers, on how to raise $7.5m to develop a long-distance walking track. His insights into the patience and perseverance required to develop such a thing was impressive. His talk was another reminder that bush walking facilities don’t just appear out of nowhere. They require vision, hard work and effort. Hugh, your talk was an inspiration to us as Bushwalking NSW looks at its future goals. Thank You, Hugh.

Finally, might I indulge in few personal thoughts on how we present bushwalking to the broader public? Visual messaging is extremely powerful, so what we show the public about bushwalking is important if we, as I expect all clubs seeks to do, wish to maintain and grow our membership. I have just returned from a trip which included hiking in the Mt Kaputar National Park. This has to be one of NSW’s great secrets! An amazing landscape, interesting walks, high country, fascinating geology, and wonderful views. And so well managed by the local NPWS guys – well done you. But why were there not the crowds I encountered almost next door (100 km away) in the equally impressive Warrumbungles? Me thinking out loud … could it be because the latter are advertised with images of grand landscapes, huge skies, impressive peaks, expansive views? And the former by a photo of one single cliff (albeit a rather impressive one), no images of the much higher and in some ways more spectacular mountains? It got me thinking about the ways we communicate with the public about national parks, bushwalking, the great outdoors. The images we choose to share could draw people in or perhaps be less encouraging. Back to Mt Kaputar and the Warrumbungles: do I want to drive five hundred miles to explore an amazing mountain range or to visit one cliff …?  Just a thought.

And with that, it, of course remains for me to wish everyone all the best for the festive season. I do hope that you are able to celebrate whichever version you choose, and that part of your celebration can be in the great outdoors. Looking forward to a wonderful 2021!

Cheers, Bill Boyd, President, Bushwalking NSW

A few words from the President

October, and we are well into spring. I thought I’d open my few words with a pithy quote about spring, something that might enthuse bushwalkers everywhere. How about Robin Williams’ declaration that “Spring is nature’s way of saying, Let’s Party”? Let’s get out into the bush and party! But then I discovered Margaret Atwood telling us that “in the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt”. I suspect little did she think she was addressing a bunch of bushwalkers who, after a good hike probably do smell a wee bit like dirt. So there it is, get out there and party, and whatever you do, come home smelling of the great outdoors.

And talking of the great outdoors, I hear that clubs across NSW are getting out and about more these days. The winter hibernation – a generous interpretation of the Covid lockdowns – has passed. We in NSW have been fortunate to be able to roam more widely and in larger numbers than our bushwalking counterparts in Victoria. Do spare them a thought. And so it is that we are able, in this State, to reexplore our own back yards. Perhaps you might be doing a little of what I have been doing recently, exploring parts of the State I haven’t visited for many years. Before the Queensland border was closed (again!), I decided to take the long route to Canberra from the north coast, avoiding Greater Sydney so that I could get across the border for a bit of grandparent duty without having to declare I’d been in the dreaded hotspot. The result, a fine bit of hiking in the Warrumbungles, and a reminder of what the western districts can offer us. Return trips to the New England Tableland, Mount Kaputar, and the Pilliga are in the offing, and no doubt several other choice destinations will delight. Thank you, by the way, to the bushwalking clubs whose web sites I have perused to help my planning.

But we all have our own backyards. And this year, our backyards are all looking pretty good. Everywhere I have been there is fine spring green growth, the flowers are popping out, and in my own sub-tropical rainforest clad mountains we are getting views! Yes, views! Bushwalking in rainforest is rewarded by glimpses rather than views, and often precious few of these. As the burnt forest recovers, we are rewarded with more expansive views – although hardly expansive in a Snow Mountain sense – and on recent walks we have all been able to understand the lie of the land better.

Talking of flowers, who has had an opportunity to take a walk or two along our wonderful coast recently? The coastal heath is looking good these days, and for the twitchers amongst us, the birds are out. One of the groups I was out with recently was determinedly warned off by a couple of kites guarding their chicks. And if you are lucky, you will still be able to spot a few the whales. They are still migrating south. On the same walk, progress was delayed considerably as a couple of whales put on the most impressive display of tail and fin slapping, rolling and generally having, dare I say it, a whale of a time. And all within easy view from the shore.

So, let’s get out there and party! Happy bushwalking everyone. Bill

Your say on our focus

Thank you to everyone who responded to our survey in January, 2017! It was a biggie!

To begin sharing the results and our actions with you, here’s the ordered response to the question:

What should be the current focus of Bushwalking NSW?

  1. Safety, rescue, risk management
  2. Tracks and access (defined walks)
  3. Conservation (natural places to walk in)
  4. Public promotion of bushwalking
  5. Training
  6. Services to clubs

Interestingly, these options were presented in quite a different order in the survey:

  1. Services to clubs
  2. Public promotion of bushwalking
  3. Conservation
  4. Tracks and access
  5. Safety, rescue, risk management
  6. Training

So it was a good question to ask!

If you would like to send us your thoughts, you can still respond to our survey here.

This information will ultimately go into our strategic plan, however we have already responded with work in these areas:

  • more work on our Risk Management Guidelines
  • met with NPWS and members about tracks and walk promotion
  • visited the historic, Kedumba Valley hut with NPWS and talked about tracks and access (one member specifically asked for huts)
  • delivered an excellent minimal impact bushwalking presentation
  • and more!

While we could never do everything that can be imagined, members also made the following suggestions which we could may be able to  on if we find the resources: “Collate an inventory of walks”

Also, one members suggested we “monitor insurance suitability each year” which we do with the help of Bushwalking Australia.

Our Community Liaison Officer, Alexandra Davidson has been working tirelessly to analyse your results so we will be continuing to bring you more details of the results.