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This is the rather tongue in cheek section dedicated to news and events we hear from local rangers. We were going to call this section, "News from the Rangers", but when the suggestion, "Ranger Danger!" was floated as a lighter hearted description the particular rangers there at the time grinned in agreement - so here it is.
If you are a council, park or forests ranger then feel free to contact us to have your news posted on this page.
We're hoping that this will become an informal way for authorities to liaise with the mountain biking community. Hopefully this will make their job of maintaining the varied lands we ride on that much easier. Easier life for rangers equals happy rangers, equals rangers more willing to help riders, hopefully equals better trail access and maintenance.
As previously discussed (see Northern Beaches National Parks to pilot Sustainable MTB Access) today was the day for a "full day of consultation" which consisted of a NPWS facilitated workshop, "... to explore opportunities for sustainable cycling and mountain biking in the region.".
Pictured here you see the smiling faces after a full morning of discussion. We had reason to smile too, as the session was very useful, well organised and well mannered. The day consisted of a few presentations, splitting into groups for smaller discussion, whole group discussions and other brainstorming.
In the afternoon we visited a (rather wet) Bantry Bay and walked through the area discussing various issues. The good news here was that trail design and maintenance guru Glen Jacobs (from World Trail) saw nothing here that was a major challenge or problem.
I have to say the group was very lucky to have Glen there today as his experience really shone through. The NPWS staff seemed very enlightened by what he had to say, particularly when talking about how proper trail design can be used to effectively control rider behaviour. We are like sheep aparently - give us sweet single track and we'll follow it anywhere
We were also very fortunate to have Tony Scott (MTBA) and Nick Bowman (of the newly formed IMBA Australia) along with a couple of NPWS Directors (Carl Solomon and Bob Conroy). It would appear that a way forward can be found at a high level between these senior guys that will be beneficial to everyone working a 'grass roots' level - that includes everyone out there that has supported efforts publicised here on this site, and through others (such as HSMBA) and our local clubs. It has to be said, that without everyone's support this workshop could have never happened - thank you all!
As usually there isn't much in the way of planning that can be shared, but a couple of choice quotes from the 'Next steps' closing. NPWS are committed to "remain relevant" to the community and park visitors which obviously includes catering for the very popular and ever growing MTB base. They are also committed to, "selection, design & development of sustainable trails" in the future.
As usual, will keep everyone up to date with further progress, but going on this showing some good things are coming... although there is always a down side - it will be slow progress as always, but you already knew that, right?
Just a heads up from a conversation I had with NPWS rangers this arvo.
It seems that illegal riding at Bantry Bay continues and they have had 'ministerial complaints' about riders on the Aboriginal carvings there.
Due to this they are going to have to fence (chain link was mentioned) and block off more access into this area.
Yet more time and money wasted on these measures that could be better spent on other things. I cannot say more here (and please do not ask), but there are glimmers of hope for riders in National Parks (one only has to look to Glenrock to see times are changing).
So come on, do the right thing, eh?
I've just had an email from NPWS regarding rider limits on organised rides in National Parks.
The attached form one was asked to sign lists (amongst others) the following fees:
- Application Administration fee: $55.00 - Dependent upon application
- Application fee: Dependent upon application
- Per head fee: To be advised if applicable
- Security Deposit and other fees: To be advised if applicable
As you can see, signing such a form leaves anyone open to at least a $55 liability and probably more as these fees are TBA and no limit is mentioned on the form.
You will also note from the below that a three week notice is required which is probably unworkable.
From this I think there is little option but to limit all rides to 20 or less and I'll be turning that on now. Sorry, but this is bureaucracy run wild and have told NPWS as much.
I have been asked to post the below by local rangers as a reminder to all that building illegal single track in National Parks is just not worth it.
Not only will you be fined and your work destroyed by the rangers, you will also show the sport of mountain bike riding in a very bad light and hinder efforts for legal trail access.
If you want to discuss this, please do so in the trail advocacy forum.
On Saturday 8th March 4 mountain bike riders were apprehended riding the illegally constructed downhill track off Smiths Creek Track (that runs of the Perimeter trail in Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park). Smiths Creek Track is clearly signposted at the locked entrance gate as a "WALKERS ONLY" track.
Due to a hazard reduction burn starting at approx 4 PM occurring in Garigal National Park on Thursday 13 November 2008 the following park closures will be in place until further notice:
- Kamber Fire Trail
- Five Mile Trail
- Slippery Dip Trail
- all other nearby legal & illegal trails
Due to a hazard reduction burn occurring in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park on Friday 14 November 2008 the following park closures will be in place until further notice:
- Cooyong/Neverfail Trail (also known as the Ryland Trail)
- Sandy Trail
- Neverfail Gully Trail
- Larool Trail (which is part of Dundundra Reserve)
Road closures will also be in place both days, including disruptions to Mona Vale Rd and Forest Way so please avoid the area if possible. For more updated information on road closures please check the RTA website or call 02 9450 3000/9472 8949.
Some good news... remember SCA Management Regulation review (discussed here)?
I was at first very disappointed to see that last Friday the legislation on SCA access was gazetted and appears to have no change on MTB access (the gazette is here - see page 374 onwards).
Then today, a rather promising press release from the Minister for water (see attached PDF).
Basically it looks like the SCA will be performing a full community consultation on MTB access. Stay tuned for that.
Just spoke to a ranger at Manly Dam and there's some good news...
Seems like they are in the process of hiring a replacement for Nicole and this replacement will hopefully be starting within a month or so. The rangers definitely want to continue to work with riders on trail maintenance and appreciate all of the interest. With another person on board this should mean that can happen once more.
So give the newbie a chance to settle in and start arrangements. Not sure of course, but maybe this means within a couple of months the maintenance days will return?
In the mean time a bit of common sense is still required when thinking of riding around there. The track is still officially closed and would think it'll be at least another week before it dries out, even longer if the weather stays bad.
On Tuesday (Jun 2) I attended a round table discussion organised by Warringah Council.
The council are preparing a long term recreational policy and invited people from a broad spectrum of the community to several meetings such as this. They will also be meeting with other government groups such as NPWS, although I'm not sure if we will have any visibility of what happens at those meetings.
I think we were very fortunate to be invited to this discussion and that overall it was productive and had some good outcomes.