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Parts of Oxford Falls Officially Closed

goatman's picture

By goatman - Posted on 22 March 2008

A mate of mine rode little Moab yesterday morning and said there is a massive 'no bikes' sign at the start of the XC loop where it branches off next to the Aero club gate.

Apparently the sign says there are Aboriginal carvings and fines of up to $5000 for causing trail damage (whatever that is defined as).

Apparently the same sign is at the entrance to a certain track that starts up on Mona Vale rd.

I just read with interest the forum on National parks interest in this site. Guess it makes it pretty easy for them to monitor what trails are where.

The start of the XC track is NOT in national park as far as I know.

Is the beginning of the end for our local trails? What can we do about it?

Little-Ditty's picture


I must admit, it is a shame about "that certain place" up on Mona Vale Rd. But we never really rode that trail much. It was generally inaccessible to anyone without a shuttle run, and the bottom of it was always a mud pit.

Regarding the start of the main XC loop. This is interesting. Because a lot of trails out there, that run in or around the fire trails, certainly can't be off limits to bikes, surely? What about the Deep Creek and Power Lines fire trails areas? Surely these areas can't be off limits? If a vehicle is theoretically able to use those trails, then a bike can.

I think someone may need to ride around the area and see what is open and what is closed.

alchemist's picture

NP Boundary

The pink line shows the approximate location of the NP Boundary.

Can the tracks be saved? As noted by Flynny it will need a change to National Parks Cycling Policy and the Garrigal NP POM.

christine's picture

there are great rock carvings on the first trail but around the cross country course i haven't seen any... I do believe that the land all around there has been given to the aborigines and they want ultimately to build on it - and wasnt there something in the Daily about the 'plane fields possibly being threatened as well?

LadyToast's picture

I rode Deep Creek yesterday and didn't see any signs. This is surely bad news for us if true.

dez_b's picture

It seems overkill by National parks to shut down the whole trail network for the sake of one small area which could so easily be protected from damage with some fencing , its not like XC riders are a bunch of vandals that are going to carve names in the rock art. The more likely damage would come from Moto riders and or 4X4 . Speaking of which we did the pumping station track down from Red Hill the other day and a 4x4 had made it all the way up from the road and attempted to climb the really steep rock shelf half way down leaving rubber all over the rocks and gouges from his bash plate but worse he had dislodged the transition rock on the steepest drop. Without that rock it is a very bad OTB and by the time you see it has gone it is too late . It took three of us to shift the rock back. Anyway back to the original thread , maybe NOBMOB as a group should lobby Nat parks about alternative solutions to a complete lockout , anyone out there have the skills to draft a letter that we could all sign. It seems so strange that a sport that promotes health and outdoor activities which we need in this climate of XBOX and PC TV land is being impinged by petty pencil necks who really have no idea about what we do out there, unlike Victoria that throws buckets of money at the sport and opens up areas all the time building new trails and promotes the sport attracting tourism and building a healthier community.
So who has the legal and linguistic skills (and unlike me who tends to get abusive) to draft a letter , if we do not do something about it we will see more and more trails taken away from our soft fat tyres and used exclusively by unfriendly grumpy old bush walkers that seem to be the main voice against our sport.
WE ARE NOT VANDALS lets stand up and say something instead of building long threads talking about how bad it is and lobby for out hobby
my 2c worth.

LadyToast's picture

Hi dez_b

We did red hill on Friday and I ran into a couple of kids in a (fully decked out) 4X4 on the way up that track. We were all in awe that he even made it up there, there was lots of rubber and dislodged rocks. I have it on video actually. They were pretty wild, said they had already rolled it onto one side and dented it all up. Perhaps the same car...

dez_b's picture

do you have there rego visible on the video ? that has to be illegal to drive up there ? if so report them

LadyToast's picture

No I don't Sad The thing barely looked road legal. All I can tell from the video is that it's a grey/silver Nissan Patrol or similar with massive balloon tyres and 2 kids in it. I didn't get the camera rolling in time to get the plate.

Little-Ditty's picture

Isn't most of Red Hill sanctioned fire trails anyway (except single trails like rim ride)? Therefore, wouldn't it be legal to drive that 4wd through the 4wd follies, Mr MX, Drop Zone, etc? Not that I approve if they are cutting up the trail, dislodging rocks, etc. But possibly they are in their rights to do this. Anyone know about the fire trail situation?

Matt's picture

Magic slogan dez_b, that could be the beginning of something intersting ;-}

I think a bit of self education might not be a bad start, we'd all love to get involved but where do we start? What about doing the following documented on this site (Rob, you might chip in with the best technical solution to doing so please?):

[1] - Prioritise the at-risk sites/trails with no mtb body already taking oversight, so that would include:
- Red Hill,
- Oxford Falls,
But not the likes of Ourimbah, the Dam etc that are already well managed.

[2] - Once we have the list then figure out who owns/controls each and document it here in plain sight for all to see, with what is OK to ride, being as precise as possible, i.e. if trails have multiple owners then list all and where they own.

[3] - Try and establish contact with said owner/organisation and figure out what the long term plans are for that site and how we can be part of it, in a positive sense to expand usage and maybe to police those bits where usage is reasonably not allowed, and spread the word of what is and isn't OK.

[4] - Contact the local clubs/orgs and figure out what has already been done and document that with contacts for further info.

[5] - As an aside we might also have a tab at the top for "trail etiquette" to sustain the trails, ie. stick to lines, no rubbish, pick up any rubbish you see, no building pallet monstrosities...

Rob - how's about setting up a tab at the top called "Lobby for your Hobby" with branches/links for the at-risk trails where we can make a difference?

Good stuff or a pile of steaming... If good what other trails would be on the at risk list?


Rob's picture

Just quickly...

1. I've never seen any rock carvings (Aboriginal or otherwise) on the Little Moab section of Oxford Falls.

2. I have seen carvings on the Moon Rocks section of the Oxford Falls area, but that's not within the National Park. Did they mention these? Shouldn't they be protected too?

3. The XC loop doesn't actually start inside NP boundary so the entrance to it is an inappropriate place for their signage. Perhaps they should have placed it at the junction off to Little Moab?

4. Someone else has already said, why don't they put a fence around the area they don't want damaging (carvings)? I mean, walkers will no doubt be interested to look at this stuff too, pointing it out so as to allow that (and stop it being trampled) is a good thing. There is such fencing at Bantry Bay and we never go anywhere near it.

jeremya's picture

If this sign is near the aero club isn't this just a continuation of the aero club's campaign from a few years ago when they had signs all over the place saying "no bikes"(with no legal basis at all). Apparently Manly Warringah MTB club upset them when they used to race there by dobbiing the aero club in for some excavation the aero club did in the creek . If the sign is a NPWS one it would be at the park boundary and be a NPWS one

LadyToast's picture

also is the sign the same as the sign up at Mona Vale Rd?

goatman's picture

Rode there yesterday afternoon and yes the sign is right at the start of the single track (next to the Aero club entrance).

It is a National Parks sign and has 'No bicycles' and No motor bikes' signage (you know the ones with the red cross through them).

Then in smaller print it mentioned the Aboriginal carvings and the threat of a $5500 fine for damaging them.

No mention of horses interestingly.

There was no sign at the start of Nusery Rythmes - didn't check Moon rock however.

Stuart M's picture

are not in the National Park. Interestingly though, neither is where they have placed the sign. I would suggest that is to stop people from thinking "Well I've got this far I may as well just finish off" if they cam to a sign at the actual Park Boundary.

Rob's picture

Well no actually, placement of this sign sounds like it's NPWS taking a great liberty!

For example, it's a great little technical challenge to ride the XC circuit up to the junction with Little Moab. Looking at alchemist's map none of that is inside National Park boundary so one could quiet legally ride up to the boundary before turning round and returning the way they came, having fun all the way.

jeremya's picture

I checked out the signs at oxford falls this morning . They are genuine NWPS signs and they have a right to be somewhere in that area, even if they are a short distance from the actual boundary. There are also "no bikes" signs at the start of moon rock which is I believe outside the Park . These are similar to the ones at the start of the XC circuit but are missing the sign referring to NPWS . I also went up the XC circuit the other way(walking) . I went some distance past where I thought the boundary was (near the creek ) but there were no signs. There were no signs on other single track in the area either.

There were some "Friends on Narabeen Lagoon" leaflets at the morgan road gate so I suspect they have lobbied the NPWS to put up these signs . They seem to be a walking /conservation group that has become active in the area.

Assuming NPWS are now seriously enforcing there no biking on singletrack policy is there anything we can do about it. There have been Mountain Bikes on the XC circuit since MTB began (and virtually no walkers). NPWS do seem to be relaxing this policy a bit and the XC circuit , maybe without the side tracks would be a fair one to lobby for

Alex's picture

purely out of curiosity, what would happen to one if one did ride on one of these said illegal trails?...hypothetically of course..

alchemist's picture

National Park's authority can extend beyond park boundaries, particularly when aboriginal sites or threatened species are involved.

Stuart M's picture

as "threatened species"

Just a thought as we've been "threatened" with a big fine if we ride there

Rob's picture

"Assuming NPWS are now seriously enforcing there no biking on singletrack policy is there anything we can do about it"?

First and foremost, try to remain calm and within the law - I'm not suggesting anyone here would do anything rash, but if you are reading this and thinking of that please don't as it will reflect badly on all riders and hinder any efforts to come to a workable solution within the bounds of the law.

So take out your pen & paper, or fire up the word processor and write to your local MP, mayor, etc, etc. Sadly this seems to be how things are done. Costs a few cents and some time, and a pile of letters (paper ones, not email) gets the message across about how upset you are. Write in a generic manner so you can copy and send it to several people (your MP, the local mayor, etc) at the same time. Post in our Trail Advocacy forum about what you wrote and to who to encourage more action. Post up details of any reply that you receive.

I know that doesn't help you if this is your local ride, and you have no means of reaching another area. It saddens me that there are numerous people here who will be forced to ride further and further from the Northern Beaches through action like this. Many of us can afford the time and cost of riding Wingello or Ourimbah for example (why are state forests so nice to MTB riders?), but what about those that can't? The skeptic in me doubts the people who make these decisions consider them (mostly non-voting age 'kids'?) a very high priority.

alchemist's picture

Nah, we're still considered an introduced feral species, much like the cane toad.

pikey's picture

From my experiance in business the best way to solve issues is face to face.
We can write letters til the cows come home, they just get filed.

We need to talk to the local branch of the NPWS or what ever name they are this year.

Not looking for a shit fight but to talk about a solution to the ongoing access issue to National Parks, both local and beyond.

The way I see it we are all on the same side and with a combined effort can produce a sustainable access policy that all can agree with.

Tomorrow I'm making inquiries. I'll report back soon.

Greg Pike

Stuart M's picture

I'm poisonous just like the Toad

MartinB's picture

DECC has established and implemented several mechanisms for public participation. They are designed to involve the community in:

the development of legislation, policies and guidelines
the review of environment protection licences
conservation plans
wilderness declarations
conservation agreements with a statutory authority or another minister

This is the DECC (the government department in charge of NPWS) websites policy on listening to people moanings. Further info is on there site
It appears that we can say something, though how effective this will be is another matter

Rob's picture

BTW, this has been discussed for quiet some time on Farkin, take a look:

Matt's picture

This comment has been moved here.

christine's picture

they have to have a Draft Plan of Management before they are allowed to lock us out of any parks...we are supposed to be allowed to comment on it.
does anyone know anything about this?

Flynny's picture

The over riding policy permits cycling on fire roads and management trails only unless specifically addressed in the POM.

So technically we are locked out in the first instance and only allowed in once the Plan of management is issued under comment and approval processes.

Most POM come with a vague clause which allows The park or parts there of to be closed temporarily or permanently to all or some users at any time the department deems appropriate for the safe guarding of such things as environmental or heritage values with no consultation required.

Lenny_GTA's picture

From our experiences dealing with the NPWS the local level (glenrock) have generally been reasonably open to MTB use. The issue comes with the local level being paronoid of the entire Draft POM being veto'd at a management level.

Essentially though we can all negotiate with the NPWS as much as we want, but until the DECC cycling policy is amended, then we won't get very far. We changed focus from the local level to lobbying the DECC through local politicians who took up our cause, along with letter writing and the local level of the NPWS made it clear out voice was being heard the problem was we were wanting to be heard on a state wide level and the politicians kept watering it down to a local level issue.

Late last year we were advised that a review of the policy would occur this year, but a co-ordinated attack on the DECC and their policy would help the cause no end.

I still believe that we can negotiate with the NPWS and form good working relationships (we have done that to the point of the NPWS employing World-Trail to do trail works), but until the cycling policy is amended for the better, the NPWS hands are tied to a certain extent.

The policy does give the regional manager discretion to include mtb single trail, but under the POM process, a draft POM can be derailed by other area managers. As I said before, this leads to managers looking at what will get through the POM process rather than what is the better management option for a valid park use.

I agree with flynny's interpretation of the policy, and our local branch of the NPWS share the same view, although they have turned a blind eye to us while the draft POM is sorted.

christine's picture

so, does that mean then that the management plans for horses and mtbs are different? only because The Horse Alliance people are the ones who told me about the draft plan of management...
all too confusing for this blondie
just tell me what to do and i will do it!

Flynny's picture

The Plan of management for any park would have an over all guideline for recreation and then separate clauses for separate recreational activities.

I'm have no idea what the DECC policy on horse riding is. It would be a separate policy but as with cycling that is the document that would umbrella all parks with room for local negotiations within individual Plan of Managements

MTY's picture

There are some Aboriginal carvings at Cromer which are fenced off, does anyone know if there are any new signs around there?

goatman's picture

No signs at Red Hill, rode there yesterday, still plenty of Motos and erosion, but lots of fun as always!

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