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Garigal Illegal track - Deep Creek track erosion damage.

Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 11 May 2008

dez_b's picture

This is a joke the original damage on this bit of single track was done by Moto's not MTB yet we get the blame again

Stuart M's picture

I'm sure we could muster enough volunteer labour to not just rectify the problem but take the necessary measures to minimise any further erosion, regardless of its origin.

Pity NPWS can't see the forest for the trees

delicious's picture

This kind of erosion is exactly why ramps, jumps and bridges where built by pioneering off road cyclists, In the days before the term mountain bike was ever a term.
Two distinct groups claim to have created mountain biking; Those of Marin County in California, USA and those of The North Shore, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The riders of the latter group experience a very high rainfall, a long period of snow cover and very big trees that may fall over due to severe Pacific Ocean storms that blow in. This creates the type of erosion that is also common place here in Australia.
The solution? Build a deck to protect the ground beneath so a cyclists' tyres aren't ripping up the joint and also is not getting inconveniently bogged. Or build a jump to leap across said boggy surface or perhaps a fallen tree or an inconveniently placed rock. What genius! What fun!
Would somebody, who is more diplomatic than I, please point out this cleverness to the powers that be?

Stuart M's picture

"so a cyclists' tyres aren't ripping up the joint" thrown in. Eye-wink

Remember, a cyclist riding a trail with control and respect creates no greater damage to that trail than a walker would in the same location

delicious's picture

I agree and how clumsy of me. However as I understand a lot of folk who live in high rainfall areas where the trails are suitably reinforced will ride anyway when the trail is wet. Here in Australia we avoid this to minimise damage. I would like to see this reinforcement so I can ride in the inclement weather as I rather like it. And I loathe being stuck at home due to rain/wet trails.
So the idea is that if the areas prone to erosion are suitably guarded, they can be all weather trails.

Matt's picture

Unless blind you'd have to admit that that photo is pretty clear evidence of MTB related erosion, regardless of what's gone before, there are muddy MTB marks all over an illegal track... Not big nor clever.

Alex's picture

yeh but look at the size of the tracks and look at the gully eroded through it, it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that its damn near impossible for push bikes to do that kind of damage! bicycles have clearly just ridden over/through the gully too..i mean has anyone here ever torn up a trail like that no matter how rough theyve been riding or how wet? or how big the group? didnt think so!

Matt's picture

...but that wasn't my point, whatever caused it originally, what you can see there now are MTB tracks on a wet illegal trail. Speaks for itself.

And whether or not it was motos originally in this case I'm not so sure that MTB's can't do serious damage given time, wet tracks and no maintenance. Just look how bad sections of the dam get after decent rain and that's a maintained trail.

I wouldn't expect NPWS to let us have any responsibility given this sort of thing and I can't say I blame them.

pikey's picture

Do the maths.... one single trail. 0.0001% of a National Park.
What damage is being done overall?
What native animal is missing out on a place to root?
What native Australian have I ever crossed paths with on these trails, ever? NON.
How many walkers do I cross paths with? Some.
How many mountain bike riders do I cross? A lot.

Give the bush back to the public to enjoy, not just to look at from a distance.


Salad is what food eats Smiling

hawkeye's picture

I'm with Rob and Matt on this one. While motos have a disproportionately huge impact on trail erosion, mtb's still contribute some to trail damage, especially riding in wet weather. The erosion on the downhill section at the Dam prior to the "repairs" was an eye opener. No motos there.

What I think NPWS ought to take away from the continued "civil disobedience" from mtbers is that the pent-up demand for this activity is huge, and it won't go away. Each weekend I meet folks from all over sydney who travel distances to ride in our area, it's not just (or anywhere near mostly) locals who ride northern beaches trails.

I don't believe putting signs up nor fining people and especially not the policy of total shut-out from singletrack is a strategy that will work long term. It's just human nature, and NPWS' execution of trail closures to date just looks like heavy-handed authoritarianism. With our convict roots, do they realisticly expect Australians are going to respect that approach?

A far more effective strategy would be to work *with* us to provide a more attractive alternative to reduce the incentive to ride areas they'd prefer us to stay out of. Use people's self-interest to redirect where they go and get the right result.

We might not get complete 100% compliance, but this approach nevertheless seems to be very successful at the Dam. Rarely (actually, never, come to think of it) have I seen riders enter or leave walker-only trails. Almost everybody stays on the nominated route... because it's a fun and interesting trail.

What they don't respect is total closure.

I think there are some clues here....

kurt's picture

Totally agree Pikey


sensai_miagi's picture

I agree with both sides here...MTB's CAN create bad erosion (i've seen serious studies on it by collegues during my time studying Env Mgt at university) and given NPWS job is to maintain protected widlerness in Australia you can't expect them to just allow this.

At the same time walking trails clear veg and bring other problems like (more minor)erosion and litter in the parks, and they allow them all over the shop! Given there are probably more keen MTB's than walkers in a lot of areas it really is horse sh1t like Pikey said.

So the answer seem pretty obvious to me...ALLOW MTB ON MANAGED TRAILS! NPWS spends money on showers for surfers, benches for walkers, they are being a-holes if they close their eyes to MTB.

To bring this idea around i think we need petitions, submissions and letters and i urge everyone to do their bit there. Riding illegally is sending us backwards.

And i totally disagree with riding in the wet, even on managed trails. I've spent 6 years studying this sort of thing and you can't negate the fact that erosion occurs about 30 fold in wet conditions. If you don't agree with this i reckon you don't ride enough.

Rob's picture

You know what to do folks. We live in a democracy so if you don't like what's going on write to your MP.

NSW Departments (DECC is the important one):

Local MPs:

goatman's picture

Were riding out on the Heath track yesterday when a Moto rider comes past us (going the same way).

I shouted out to him - over the defening noise of his engine - did you know those things aren't allowed in here.

So he takes off like a maniac swerving and chewing up as much of the fireroad as he could. The damage was incredible!!

NPWS should really get a handle on these mongrels before they ban us altogether!!

Look what they have done to Red Hill.

Brian's picture

My last ride at Cascades I nearly got taken out by a Moto rider. In fact there were 4 in total.

Andrew's picture

I saw two Moto's at Cascades on Friday. And I am sure that I was following at least two of them at the Dam last month as I could hear them in the distance and saw the tracks left by them on the fire trail sections, especially up Heart Break Hill and down from the Wakehurst.

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