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NSW NPWS mountain biking public forum (Springwood)


Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 22 September 2010

When: 
Tuesday, 5 October, 2010 - 18:00

The meeting times are 'ready to ride'. If you need time to prepare equipment then please arrive a few minutes earlier.

Duration: 
2 hours
Come Rain or Shine: 
I'll be there, no matter what the weather.
Meeting Point: 

Springwood Country Club, Hawkesbury Rd, Springwood

Show on Google maps: Meeting point. Login or register to get directions.
Details:

As some may know, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has released a discussion paper on mountain biking opportunities in the state's national parks and reserves. They have invited comment on the proposals in the paper and help shape our Cycling Policy and Mountain Biking Strategy. This paper can be downloaded here:

http://mountainbiking.discussions.nsw.gov.au/

Although no official communication has been made, we have it on good authority that this date/time/place is set for the Springwood public forum on this topic.

Please RSVP to 4784 7300 or blue.mountains@environment.nsw.gov.au

If you cannot make this meeting, please take a minute to visit the URL above and comment on at least one of the aspects of the paper. Just a simple indication you are behind sustainable single track trails for mountain biking in National Parks is all that is required.

Numbers mean everything in this matter and there are sure to be plenty of opponents of MTB present on the night!

Please spread the word Smiling

Who's in?
Flynny, Andy Bloot, Isildur, Nerf Herder, The Brown Hornet, Chuck, ChopStiR, hathill, Ian_A, nick atkins, xtc, J the B, deadparrot, Beno (14 riders)
Flynny Andy Bloot Isildur Nerf Herder The Brown Hornet Chuck ChopStiR hathill Ian_A nick atkins xtc J the B deadparrot Beno
What Happened?

Were you there and have a story to tell?

Ride Gallery
Flynny's picture

Apparently email submissions are sitting 50/50 for and against. Email in people. your email might just be the one that tips the balance

Also Just got this off Nick

Due to high public interest, the closing date for submissions on the mountain biking discussion paper has been extended to Monday 25th October.

We have also added an additional public forum in Port Macquarie and confirmed a date and location for the forum in Sutherland.

NEW! Port Macquarie: Tuesday 19th October 6-8pm, Port Macquarie Golf Club, Ocean Drive Port Macquarie.

NEW! Sutherland: Wednesday 13th October 6-8pm, Sutherland United Services Club, 7 East Parade Sutherland. Please RSVP to 13PARK (137275) or annual.passes@environment.nsw.gov.au.

Springwood: Tuesday 5th October 6-8pm, Springwood Country Club, Hawkesbury Rd Springwood. Please RSVP to 4784 7300 or blue.mountains@environment.nsw.gov.au.

Turramurra: Thursday 7th October 6-8pm, Turramurra Bowling Club, 181 Bobbin Head Road Turramurra. Please RSVP to 13PARK (137275) or annual.passes@environment.nsw.gov.au.

Jindabyne: Tuesday 12th October 6-8pm, Horizons Resort, Kosciusko Road Jindabyne.

Due to the Springwood meeting conflicting with some club commitments I can't make it guys. I have contacted NP to let them know it's not appathy keep my club members away but thems the breaks.

Good luck to all the riders who can get there

Flynny's picture

Here is some ideas put forward by Nick Bowman of IMBA aus
Feel free to use some or all of it in your own submission and email it to
mountain.biking@environment.nsw.gov.au

This is not my final submission but these are the points I have been considering. It may seem technical and wordy but some very smart NSW riders have helped me put this together and it is important for our responses to be well informed. After all we are going to have to live with the outcomes for a very long time.

You may like to use some or all of these points....

1) The mountain bike community commends the Dept on developing this discussion paper and the long overdue recognition of mountain biking as an acceptable recreation activity on the NPWS estate. It is well researched and entails an objective approach to accommodating mountain bike riding in the NSW parks system. The mountain bike community will certainly be assisting the dept in working towards implementing the ideas in this Discussion Paper. The MTB Community would like to see the key provisions of this Discussion Paper consolidated into a Trails Strategy that will guide future revisions of Park Plans of Management.

2) Statistics on page 2 maybe skewed as MTB riders are probably not filling out surveys. It could be much higher than 4% and it would be worthwhile installing trail user number counters in key areas and also on unauthorised trails to obtain more accurate user numbers.

3) Agreed that the numbers of riders is due to increase, particularly as women and families are becoming increasingly interested in riding trails in natural areas.

4) Agreed that recreation in natural setting is a key motivator for MTB riders, as well as the character of single track to allow riders to feel like they are part of nature.

5) The breakdown of MTB styles is reasonably accurate. However, downhill can be sustainable as it is trail based and we would like the Dept to reconsider where downhill riding would be accommodated. Sustainable DH trails are possible with good design, reasonable investment and rigorous maintenance. While it is recognised that the motivations for DH are not necessarily related to experiencing the natural environment, it is still part of MTB culture that needs to be effectively managed in public open spaces. Furthermore, it is foreseeable that “family”, beginner level downhills in ski resorts would be a key driver for summer visitation. DH can be accommodated in appropriate areas of lesser conservation value; specifically, parts of the NPWS estate such as Regional Parks, State Conservation Areas (former mining areas and are intended to be available for future mining) or within ski area lease areas. Furthermore, IMBA Australia is of the opinion that DH needs to be catered for to reduce illegal trail building. Trials riding on the other hand; is easy to cater for on man-made structures next to the car park and really poses no threat to natural assets. Ultimately IMBA is opposed to a blanket ban on any form of mountain biking as we would prefer a more proactive approach that would assess Parks and MTB opportunities on a case by case basis.

6) Riders would like to see greater co-operation between land managers of different tenure to provide more comprehensive trail networks as detailed in section 2.1 (page 9). IMBA Australia is of the understanding that, cross tenure planning only works if an independent agency such as Planning has the authority and leadership to pull all the agencies around the table so that the "need" and "limitations" are mapped out across all public lands, and then they negotiate on developing a regional MTB plan. Thus regional plans would need to be officially signed off and binding on all agencies. Hence the MTB Community would like to more detail of how cross tenure planning will be conducted by the NSW Government in regard to MTB management and provision.

7) IMBA Australia is of the opinion that riding in Wilderness areas is already permitted in certain parks on specific management tracks. Therefore we can only assume that the Proposed Policy Intent in section 2.4 on page 11 refers to “single” tracks rather than ruling out cycling in these areas all together. IMBA Australia is happy to support the management practice of not providing single track in Wilderness Areas and Nature Reserves. However, special consideration would need to be made in future if Parks with existing cycling areas are proposed to be gazetted as either Wilderness Reserves or Nature Reserves. Essentially, riding on some management trails in Wilderness as currently permitted and often allows for classic long/multi day MTB tours to take place that travel in and out of Wilderness and non Wilderness declared areas so MTB riders would like to see that future plans and strategies reflect MTB access to these areas as they currently stand. An example would be a ride from Kiandra to Guthega in Kosciuszko NP.

Cool IMBA Australia is in favour of purpose built MTB trails rather than the proposed policy of reworking old trails to provide cycling opportunities. Repairing trails on unsustainable gradients is very expensive and requires intense trail maintenance. The current limitation of only changing a trail's alignment within the existing corridor means trail construction cannot follow the best route through the terrain, nor allow for off-trail drainage and sediment controls. The existing trails were constructed by walkers following fall-lines and the shortest route, rather than the most sensible route. Thus, to implement the IMBA trail building guidelines in full, purpose built trails on new and better alignments to achieve the best outcomes for trail users and biodiversity. The ability to rehabilitate unsustainable trails is within the capacity of the Dept, volunteers and nature and hence this rehabilitation can be used to offset new trail developments that meet the guidelines of sustainable trails. Moreover, the ability of the Australia plant species to rehabilitate closed trails has been demonstrated in Mt Coot-tha (Brisbane), Ourimbah and Glenrock.

9) IMBA Australia agrees with the proposed process for amending and re-writing Park Plans of Management to permit cycling on single tracks/multi use trails in appropriate areas. (Section 2.3, page 10)

10) The potential impacts associated with MTB (page 12) are also created by walking trails and at this stage IMBA Australia believes it is important that it is recognised that walking experiences equally pose threats to biodiversity and need to be managed equally. For example, the dispersal of Phytophthora in the Stirling Ranges (WA) is completely attributed to hiking. In reference to human waste, due to the average speed of a touring cyclist, cyclists spend less time in the bush and can travel between stops more easily than walkers. Therefore walkers are more likely to impact natural areas in this way.

11) IMBA Australia is supportive of shared use on trails to reduce trail proliferation and ongoing maintenance costs but also to encourage greater understanding between trail users. Thus we commend the Dept on raising this issue in the discussion paper and working towards realistic solutions. Shared use on trails is accepted in every other country outside Australia. It is time this changed. Examples of shared use on single trail in Australia include the City of Mitcham (SA), Manly Dam, Royal NP and the Blue Mountains. Risks are managed in all other areas of day to day life and the MTB community believes that this achievable on the trails as well.

12) The proposed priority projects are supported by IMBA Australia. We would also like the Dept to consider more comprehensive opportunities in Perisher, Blue Mountains and the Southern Highlands. Trail networks should incorporate links to train stations to reduce congestion on the roads and in trail head car parks. (On a personal note I have always wanted to see Thredbo become true MTB Mecca with at least 6 DH Trails of varying abilities and some sweet XC trails. They kicked off some great MTB opportunities in the nineties and it is time the full potential of those hills are realised!).

13) It may be the case that the success of pilot projects at Glenrock, Royal and Yellowmundee are somewhat understated. More emphasis on this success and how it can be replicated in other areas is encouraged.

14) Section 3.5 highlights the need for further training of staff in MTB trail design and maintenance, but we would also like this training to be offered to volunteers. Furthermore, we encourage the Dept to work with both professional and affiliated (MTBA & IMBA Aust) volunteer trail building experts to find solutions to trail issues.

15) Trail “flow” on bike trails is a key ingredient to their success and ongoing sustainability. IMBA Australia feels that trail flow should be described in the glossary and section 4.2

16) As part of the recognition of cycling as a valid pursuit on trails in the NPWS estate, it would be hoped that NPWS will more commonly provide information on and highlight mountain biking tour routes through the parks publications, visitor centres and websites.

Any feedback for me? Let me know nick@imba-au.com

Also Grant from trail fix gives this report from the Nowra meeting
Some points from the Nowra meeting.

* About 50 people turned up. Around 10 of those were under 30 years of age.
* Not a single comment in opposition of the proposal was made. If anyone attended who is against the idea of mtbing in NP they kept very quiet.
* Michelle got right into it and asked a few questions.
* 'Multi-use' trails sound like the preferred style of track, then 'preferred use', then 'single use'tracks.
* Definitely prefer to modify existing tracks rather than cut new tracks and increase the use of management trails (firetrails).
* IMBA standards will be adopted as draft standards.
* The process at the moment consists of the current discussion, leading to policy development and then the review of specific parks Plans of Management.
* The issue of DH tracks was discussed at length, but DH looks like it's not going to get a look in at this stage unless it is done on land not covered by NPWS.
* There was a strong emphasis on working with other land holders.
* If a current park PoM does not include mtb use it may be included when the PoM is reviewed.
* Some local issues (Sth Coast) were discussed and it was emphasised by a number of people that the area has been neglected in favour of parks closer to Sydney.
* Apparently a significant number of responses have been submitted via email and regular post. The number is dwarfed by the number of online comments but is still seen as significant. These responses have been approximately half in favour and half against.

Rob's picture

I have it in writing from NPWS that all comments carry the same weight, no matter how they are submitted.

Email, snail mail, comment on the Shape my State site... it's all good.

Please people... make sure you do at least one of these though! Smiling

Oh, and if you can make it to a meeting and show your support in person - all the better!

moggio's picture

So how did this go ?

Rob's picture

@Mog: Yeah... anyone coming back from their time travel to this evening, please let us know! Eye-wink

Sorry... poor humour! Sticking out tongue

Good luck for this eve. Remember just to stay calm and polite but be forceful enough to get your points across.

Andy Bloot's picture

Inhaling too much potpourri over there
Meeting is tonight

The Brown Hornet's picture

Word on the street is Geoff Luscombe, the NPWS Regional Manager will be at Springwood tonight, so a very good opportunity to meet the brass.

See you all there.

Rob's picture

Purleeze! Hope you guys had a good time Eye-wink

Anyone take a picture of the crowd?

moggio's picture

ok.. yeah, oops! ... damn I don't know what day it is here on holidays.. missed daylight saving (dunno whether that was only Victoria changing over?) and spent the day in ignorance of this riding You Yangs... Smiling

So, well yeah for later on... please update what happens/happened!

nrthrnben's picture

having a few after meeting bevo's,

Cmon guys, don't leave us hangin! Smiling

Chuck's picture

All very similar to Grant's comments above in Flynny's second post.

There were about 40-45 people that attended with 15 BMORC people plus a couple from WSMTB and various other local riders. The rest were locals that appeared to have and interest in what happens in the National Parks.

Best part was meeting with other local riders and NPWS staff.

See Nerf's report.
http://bmorc.com/node/17249#comment-53835

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