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Ourimbah forest access issues

Flynny's picture

By Flynny - Posted on 01 November 2010

Just got this from Greg. Parking in the bottom area has been a thorn in their side for a while now with some riders just too important to follow the rules.

Notice to all MTB community members who use the trails at Ourimbah State Forest.

Recent discussions held with Authorities from State Forests have resulted in a situation that could jeopardise our use of the forest and associated lease to CCOMTB. At present the renewal of our lease is on hold. There are some issues related to safety and community concerns that as a club we are addressing to the best of our capacity, however, we are also seeking the support of the MTB community and all people who visit the trails.

PLEASE ... refrain from parking at the bottom of the hill and use the Trail Head parking area located just at the top of the first hill (where the trail-head sign is). We realise that this a little inconvenient for downhillers who exit from the forest at this point but we are pleading for your cooperation out of the seriousness of the issue. If you are there and you notice others parking at the bottom it would be of great assistance if you could mention this request to them also.

Also, we need people to be aware that the club’s lease on the land does not include permission to engage in night riding. We therefore do not endorse the use of the trails for night riding, and until something changes the club will be ceasing the inclusion of any night races.

Finally, please try to ensure that your activity while at the track is seen as community friendly and respectful. This includes being conscientious about litter, and obeying regular road rules (riding in the back of utes etc). We know that the vast majority of MTB riders are genuinely respectful community minded people and we hope these issues can be resolved without affecting our sport. It would be a terrible situation if our access was denied and as a result other people who try to restrict riding came in and sabotaged the trails, bridges, fixtures etc that we have worked hard on developing over many years.

Greg Holmes

On behalf of CCOMTB club committee

Lenny_GTA's picture

We have been monitoring this from a distance with the Awaba lease as we deal with the same Forest NSW staff.

Its a shame that the minority of riders are again flaunting the rules to bugger it for the larger bike community.

The parking is a no brainer if you ask me. Park in the designated parking area. Even if your riding DH, its just a shuttle turnaround at the bottom, you don't need to park you car there.

We are in the same situation with night riding at Awaba and are currently trying to resolve the issue, fortunately for us we have a bigger bush buffer to neighbors. It would be good to see people respect the CCOMTB's wishes though and stay away at night for the time being.

A lot of these principles though, like leaving the place clean, respecting the area and its neighbors, respecting road rules are really common sense things that we should all be doing where ever we ride. Sad that some people just can't help themselves.

Logan's picture

This was mentioned on Sunday at the CCMTB race as well, I really dont see why people cant just move further up the road, but its also down to littering as well. Ourimbah is a great track and one that I for one dont want to see disappear.

Lenny_GTA's picture

The bigger picture though is that beyond Ourimbah, this will have ramifications for other clubs on State Forest land.

Its not just about saving Ourimbah (which is very important as it is such a great place to ride) its also about the mtb communities reputation and standing with the land manager.

Brian's picture

Is the night riding issue just a recent thing (I was going to just come to light Smiling )

Lenny_GTA's picture

I'm led to believe from our discussions with Forests NSW, that it is an issue with impacts on neighboring properties. Not sure of specifics with Ourimbah (pretty sure this surfaced a few months back), but at Awaba we are now building in a buffer between us and the adjoining properties where we won't have trails.

hairylittlehobbit's picture

Is there actually a no parking sign at the bottom of the hill? i cant remember there being one.

LadyToast's picture

I posted the same question on the CCOMTB forum last night. I meant to check as I left the race on Sunday but was so tired I forgot. Even when we did leave there were riders parking down there though, and in fact the race started from down there and there were cars with bikes on then too. If there is a sign it can't be big or lear enough.

Also the downhillers used to get collected there by shuttles so some might not want to push their rigs up to the XC trail head for the ride back to the top.

darkmuncan's picture

I remember leaflets a while ago, and there is signage directing people to the trailhead (and parking I think)

hairylittlehobbit's picture

There is defintatly a sign displaying Parking up the hill but i dont think there is one directing people not to park at the bottom.

Rob's picture

No offence, but unless there are no parking signs on just about every tree at the bottom then you can't really complain when someone parks there.

Given the bottom of the hill is so well known and has been used for so long, I wouldn't think it unreasonable for Forests NSW and whoever else wants to move the spot to put in some help (financial or otherwise) with signs.

FWIW I don't see how it could be easier for a DH rider to park there. If they are shuttling what does it matter? Everyone parks further up and drivers from there to the top for their first run. There should only ever be a single driver with the shuttle vehicle at the bottom. Note this isn't parked - it's got a driver waiting with it which is different.

LadyToast's picture

On Sunday there was also mention of people using the area around the bottom as a toilet as well, not just a quick wee against a tree either. I can imagine that wouldn't be nice for locals. It's worth mentioning that there are a couple of portable toilets up at the trail head.

Flynny's picture

There has been lots of internet discussion, leaflet drops and on the ground pleading from the club over the last 10 months or so.
There are signs but as I understand it they could be clearer, however if you know about the issue you haven't got an excuse. It's not like it puts you out, it's 200m up the road.

As for signage, I don't know who the emphasis for that should be placed on but it's the club and the wider community that stands to loose the most if complaints continue. AFAIK State forests are working through it with the club to try and make sure the squeeky wheel doesn't have anything left to base his objections on. The rest of us just need to do the right thing

Maggsie made up this map to show the area excluded from parking if people could pass the word around and comply with the simple request it would be great.

Bruce's picture

Thanks for bringing this to our attention I promise to be good from now on Eye-wink

Its been a while since I had been to Ourimbah until about a month ago, I parked in the usual lower car park as I have done for years & there were no signs that I could see, not that I was really looking.

My suggestion would be for the club to make it impossible not to see the signs or see if there is a way of blocking off the old parking spots.

The new parking area further up the hill looked much better than the old one & if people know about it there is no reason not to use it.

Vandelay's picture

I'm another one for not knowing that parking down there was a no goer (pleading ignorance). I actually thought that was the start of the XC track and have made that the meeting point for students in the Outdoor Rec course at Northern Beaches TAFE.

Sorry about that, but I also promise to do the right thing in the future. I'd be devastated to lose such a quality trail over something like that.

LadyToast's picture

Just copying this from Greg on the CCOMTB forum, he states that they do have plans to make up some more signs..

Some very clear and specific signs will go up very soon. El-Presidente Wayne is onto it as we speak, and he has submitted an action plan to State Forests to re-assure them that we are doing all we can to rectify the situation.

I must admit the only reason I know about it is because I had been told, not from signs.

hawkeye's picture

I vaguely remember some signs about parking up near the transition zone when we were there earlier this year. There was a DH race on that day. There were still people parking in the lower area, though.

Question: what exactly is the issue the neighbours have with trail users parking in that lower area? I'm curious.

People usually respect requests to stop doing something more when you give a reason. I realise this shouldn't be necessary, but it's just human nature, unfortunately...

Matt_B's picture

I knew because a local neighbour politely told me that they had requested for mtb cars to park a little further up the hill and asked if i could move up there, I had no issues with that and have done so ever since I didn't ask why. It isn't clear from the lower area that parking is up the hill - although it seems with this and other publicity people should know now.

kevine's picture

I was at Ourimbah on the weekend for the first time, and not knowing what to expect, but knowing not to part at the "bottom", I drove up the dirt road and parked with all the other cars in the car park. After unloading 5 bikes from 2 cars, and riding up the hill further, I discover signs indicating park here at the trail head - ahhh, I've parked at the bottom, exactly what I set out not to do, grhhhh.

A large simple sign saying "MTB parking in 500 metres" would be really helpful. Maybe there was one - there was a damaged sign post minus the sign near where we parked, and another sign covered in fine print - who reads fine print from the car while trying to park? The trail head signs are great, something similar at the bottom would help.


pommyracer's picture

I was also there at the weekend and saw the same thing (half a dozen cars parked in the wrong place). from my car i couldn't see any "readable" signs to say "no parking" but i did see some A4 size signs posted to trees on the right hand side of the road (which i admit you would prob read if you actually parked there and got out of your car).

maybe the same numpties who were parking here on sat were also riding manly dam on the sunday!!!

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