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Manly Dam Closed 7-11 February 2011


Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 03 February 2011

Just in from the Rangers...

Good Afternoon Bike Riders,

We have engaged contractors to undertake vegetation trimming along the single use sections of track, and this work is scheduled to take place during the week of 7-11 February 2011. Due to the use of power tools and the narrowness of the track, the track will need to be CLOSED while work is in progress for the safety of both riders and contractors.

Works are scheduled to take place between 7:30am and 4:00pm on the following days/locations and riders will need to plan alternative routes as access will be blocked. The contractors have been asked to clear all debris from the track at the end of each work day so early morning and late afternoon riders should not be inconvenienced, however all care should be taken.

Monday the 7th and Tuesday the 8th on the track in the southern section of the park between Seaforth Oval and Wakehurst Parkway Fire Trail

Thursday the 10th and Friday the 11th on the track in the northern section of the park between the turn off from the fire trail below the Roosevelt Avenue tennis courts at Allambie Heights and King Street, Manly Vale.

We appreciate your cooperation.

Kind regards,
Manly Dam Rangers

cambowambo's picture

I guess those are the parts of the track closed to pedestrians - the signposted MTB only sections: "our" sections.

So I have to ask how many mountain bikers were consulted and who made the decision to call tenders to clear and widen our single track??

Because I for one seriously dislike the concept of clearing single track vegetation:

1. half the fun of riding those single track sections comes from the flow of riding a twisting track between the overgrown vegetation
2. and also from the Star Wars Effect® when you ride it fast
3. where are the greenies complaining about killing the vegetation? You can't suggest chopping vegetation is going to reduce erosion or somehow benefit the flora and fauna - more likely the opposite!
4. who decided there was a need for clearing? Did anybody ask that these tracks be cleared?
5. there have been plenty of complaints on this forum about Manly Dam track widening and dumbing down, so I doubt I am alone on this one

I'm sorry, but this is really obvious: if you widen the vegetation riders have more room and many of them will ride different tracks in the wider corridor, creating an overall wider track - clear it again next year, again the following year, and after a few years the single track will have become a fire road the whole way. Then it will need to be bulldozed and straightened for fire truck access. That is exactly what happened on what is now named "Wakehurst Parkway Fire Trail" and it will happen again.

Clearing of vegetation on these MTB sections is unnecessary, will be damaging to the environment, ultimately unhelpful to mountain bikers (the designated single users of these tracks) and an obvious waste of resources.

darkmuncan's picture

pretty sure they are just trimming back the branches that are overhanging the track mate....

They aren't removing and killing tree's just trimming them back (which some would argue is better for the tree)

'our' track is a gift and managed by them.

pancakes's picture
Submitted by darkmuncan on Fri, 04/02/2011 - 08:44
....
'our' track is a gift and managed by them.

'our' track is a public use space, owned by everyone, the upkeep of which is paid for out of my and many other mtbers council rates, most definitely NOT a gift. Eye-wink

hawkeye's picture

... I'd be wary of stretching that line of logic too far. Riding these trails is still a privelege that can be taken away if we abuse it.

There are few things that get up the nose of a provider of facilities more than entitlement mentality in customers. I've heard stories from relos who've run into it on several occasions with tenants.

In one instance, they knew all their rights but none of their obligations to treat what they had been provided with respect. In the end the relo got sick of having their place treated badly and gave them the boot. In other cases where they got a sniff of this attitude, they simply declined their tenancy application.

There are obvious parallels here.

It needs to be remembered that the managers of these lands we ride have a responsibility to manage them for all stakeholders, and if we act like d!ckheads thinking we own the place, by the inevitable consequences of our ungrateful behaviour we will force them to act to protect the interests of other stakeholders, and shut us out.

So I'd be very wary of throwing my weight around using that line. It can equally be used by competing interests to say, "well so do we!" It's much more effective to sell land managers on what letting us use their land does to help them look awesome, and meet their objectives.

And us showing some gratitude doesn't go astray either. Eye-wink

pancakes's picture

hawkeye, without getting into an argument on semantics I will say there's a fundamental difference between a private tenant and a citizen/resident/rate/tax payer. Eye-wink

It also needs to be remembered that the managers of these lands work for a council that is led by the people we elect.

Merely stating the fact that there is a basic right to access of the lands does not mean I am "throwing my weight around". It's just stating the obvious. Its' public land and there's enough of it to go around.

Needless to say I have a healthy disregard for any reverence of local councils providing the very things they are entrusted to do in the first instance. It's what they are there to do. If they go above and beyond, then good on them and they are to be applauded.

Look I really enjoy riding around the dam but I think they are doing the bare minimum they can get away with at the moment. Looking forward to some more dedicated single track in the future! Smiling

cambowambo's picture
It needs to be remembered that the managers of these lands we ride have a responsibility to manage them for all stakeholders, and if we act like d!ckheads thinking we own the place, by the inevitable consequences of our ungrateful behaviour we will force them to act to protect the interests of other stakeholders, and shut us out.

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but wouldn't the primary stakeholder group (in terms of users) for a single use track be the single users of that track - mountain bike riders in this instance?

Did anybody notice any stakeholder consultation re track clearing?
--

pretty sure they are just trimming back the branches that are overhanging the track mate....

They trim those tracks every few months by walking along with a machete - they did it late last year. No need for 4 days of track closures when they do that kind of trimming (and no objections from me). I'm pretty sure this is what you are pretty sure they are going to do.

However last year there were chainsaws and hydraulic chopping extensions behind tractors and machines on the fire trail and partial track closures over several days (then later they came back and burnt everything just to be sure) and *I'm* pretty sure if they have to close the track for 4 days then this is more likely what they are planning.

But if we'd been consulted, we would know what trimming was proposed and why.

And anyway - how many times have you been hit by overhanging trees? They are not a problem.

pancakes's picture

I rode the dam this morning and didn't see a single area that needs trimming to the extent that power tools would be warranted, let alone 4 days work???? Hopefully this maintenance will not be a waste of public money and not a degradation of the area.

Maybe it's part of a local stimulation package? Hopefully the contractors are locals...Eye-wink

pancakes's picture

Just had a thought (that's it for today...) what if "vegetation trimming" is code for "cutting in new track"?

Pigs may fly, I know. If it were the case I'd get shirts printed saying:

mtbike@warringah.nsw.gov.au ROCKS!

woftt's picture

Thanks for the update Rob!

I am all for trimming and not widening the track like others on this thread - just not sure where the trimming is needed but then I am not too peturbed by the occasional light wipping of branchs, its just the norm. The only place I ever think needs regular trimming is where the safety rail is after the childrens playground as I can be very dangerous, but that seems to be pretty clear at the moment.

What I did notice when I last rode week was how badly some of the board walks are broken up. Especially after the big rock. Although these may be nothing to the good tech rider it may be a little hazzardous for newbies.

Anyway I hope they do a good job with the trimming and I support all maintenance.

Woftt.

hawkeye's picture
What I did notice when I last rode week was how badly some of the board walks are broken up. Especially after the big rock. Although these may be nothing to the good tech rider it may be a little hazzardous for newbies.

Yeh, I get spooked by that sometimes. I forget that it's broken up and come in too hot and with the bike in the wrong position on the track. Usually I'm good after the first lap.

Would be nice if they fixed it... you'd think it would be on their list of maintenance priorities. Not getting your wheel up and over and hitting the jumbled boards lying at an angle could have an ugly result. Nevertheless, you do have to be ready for things to be different, and be riding conservatively enough to be able to pull up or bail safely if you encounter something unexpected.

cambowambo's picture

I rode the Dam this morning and also had a quick chat with two of the contractors doing the "trimming" work.

Their task is to clear any overhangs below 2.1 metres and to clear 0.5 metres each side of the track - I call that "widening".

From my quick run through the section just completed (the single track from the Golf Course to the Wakehurst Parkway start of the Fire Road) it generally looks good. They left the *substantial* trees but certainly took out everything else including some blackboys (oops - I meant to call them Xanthorrhoea) and thinner-trunked sheoaks (Casuarinas) which have been living happily on the track since I started riding it last century.

They've also defined as part of the track all those unofficially widened sections where idiots have gone around obstacles rather than ride over them, so those sections are very wide and clear now. No doubt they will continue to get wider and wider as more idiots and newbies ride there.

But overall it isn't as bad as I expected.

The negatives are that the track is now more than a metre wider all the way and looks straighter so some of the flow has gone. It is several metres wider at all the obstacles which had previously made the track interesting, and these sections are doomed to grow wider in the future. The shade is gone in many places where I personally used to appreciate it.

The positives are that much of the trimmed vegetation will grow back in a few months. And the views into the distance are improved.

unicycle6869's picture

I just want to THANK the rangers and whoever else was involved in doing this. These sections have needed it really bad now for the last couple of months. I won't ride the track without wearing glasses as I fear of getting my eyes poked out. Let's just say my glasses have saved me countless times. I just rode the track last week and fell due to branches. I went to snap them off so no one else would get hurt and ended up with a big cut across my arm.

I do agree that too much would be bad but let's just hope that they do what is needed. As far as widening the track, I know a lot of people are against it but it is nice for the newbies and less skilled riders if they have the option of riding around a difficult object vs. having to get off and walk. Some of the best trails I have ever ridden (North Shore, Vancouver) have lots of different lines for all skill levels so everyone can enjoy the trail, not just the experts. And hopefully any easy sections will grow back to be true single track. Hope that makes sense and can't wait to check out the new improved trail in a few days!

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