Advocacy efforts get SMH coverage

Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 11 October 2009

In print, this appeared on page 13 of the main news section:

Lenny_GTA's picture

Good to see the issue get this level of coverage.

Despite the NPA getting the majority of the airplay in the article, I actually think it came across with them being a little bit extremest. Would have been nice if there was some balanced response to their claims though.

Will be interesting to see if it triggers any responses in the letters section though. We had a similar thing happen up here a few years back, only on the local news. It was actually a pro mtb piece (the reporters kids ride, perhaps using footage of the kids riding DH on illegal trails wasn't the best approach though), but the NPWS felt that it actually did more damage to our cause with potentially bringing out of the woodwork the anti-mtb lobby group.

The whole thing whimpered out and went nowhere. Fortunately it looks like you guys are on a roll though and I think this coverage has been good.

adrian_mole's picture
''They travel fast, accelerate hard, turn sharply, brake hard and skid frequently,''

hmm, mountain bike or motor bike

either someone has been badly mis-quoted or this guy is sadly mis-informed

Lenny_GTA's picture

Neither, just choosing words carefully to serve his argument. He is hoping that the readers as mis-informed on the argument and will side with him.

nrthrnben's picture
Ken Higgs from the National Parks Association said bikes formed erosion gullies and destroyed plants.

''They travel fast, accelerate hard, turn sharply, brake hard and skid frequently,'' he wrote in a letter to the NSW Government in July. ''These activities cause significant disturbance to the ground and any nearby vegetation.''

Ok mountain bikers are reasonable because we agree that mountain biking does indeed cause erosion in some cases when the trail in question is not designed to IMBA standards to suit mountain biking. But when they are designed sustainably to suit the user (mountain bikers) from the start, erosion is on par with walking trails.

Walkers can also cause erosion gullies.
If the trail is not designed properly with appropriate steps and or water bars to stop water picking up speed on extremely step slopes that walking tracks are so often built on, erosion will most certainly occur.
Appropriate trail armoring must also be used to stop hiking boots ripping up the really steep sections of trails; if this is not done erosion will most certainly occur.

Raised boardwalks must be put in to raise the walker above sensitive vegetation; if this is not done walkers will most certainly damage or destroy plants.

So from the above we can see that the main argument environment/ lobby groups have used against us for so long, is fatally flawed.
If they want to use the argument of "Bikes cause erosion", they must also admit that "walker’s cause erosion".

If environmental groups where infact reasonable and factual, they would say, "Ok millions of $'s are spent every year to make sure each and every walking trail is built to a sustainable standard with steps, armoring, raised boardwalk’s and bridges". "If mountain bikes are to be allowed into National Parks we must be certain the same money and care is taken to make sure this legitimate recreational pursuit is implemented in a sustainable way”.” If this can be achieved it will be a great thing for national parks as the next generation will be enjoying the national parks whilst developing a sense of appreciation for their existence and thus be much more inclined to volunteer in the park and to make sure they are around forever".

I’m kind of glad Ken Higgs wrote what was quoted at the top, because the decision makers at DECC and NPWS know when someone is being deceptive and one sided.
Similar to the Lane cove POM public meeting, we (mountain bikers) im sure where seen to be reasonable, whilst some from the environmental groups where seen to be fanatical.

We should all take this as a lesson to rise above and be mild, calm and reasonable at all times when dealing with NPWS and Environmentalists.
People catch on real quick to those that are fanatical, if we are reasonable and stick to the facts/studies and show that sustainable mountain bike single trails can and have been successfully built and maintained in parks and National Parks both in Australia and the world over!

herzog's picture

The thing that annoys me about this article, and we saw something similar in one of the Local papers writing up the Lane Cove POM meeting, is that the journalist has rushed to put a label on stakeholders.

It's "Mountain Bikers" v "Environmentalists" (as if it is somehow impossible to be both). Most mountain bikers I know value the parks and the enviroment greatly, and see themselves as custodians of the bush.

Basically this is lazy journalism, to avoid the need to probe the issues and get a true understanding of what's going on.

Better analysis would reveal that it is people who want to cycle responsibly on designated singletracks in national parks, versus a hikers advocacy group who want to stop them.

And once again the NPA has dishonestly attributed damage from motorcycles to bicycles to get a headline. And of course they neglect to mention the damage walkers have caused, as shown by many photos on this site documenting the walker impact.

Why don't we get riders joining this NPA outfit so we can educate and change it from within?

Rob's picture

User Groups?

Don't take it too seriously but you get the point - there's a lot of overlap between environmentalists and MTB riders and a whole lot more people outside both of these groups that are more of a worry to both then they are a worry to each other.

Colt's picture

Actually Rob that has got to be a pretty damn good representation of the groups involved.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Best Mountain Bike