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Mountain Bike Use of Illegal Tracks & Closed Trails

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By Rob - Posted on 11 March 2009

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.

Two other riders were very lucky not to be fined as well, after they turned around at the gate to Smiths Creek Track after getting a warning phone call from one of the other riders caught.

The riders were fined $300 each for the offence of 'Unauthorised entry into/use of park/road traversing park'.

However, as the were also using the illegally constructed downhill track adjacent to the Smith Creek Track (which is defined under the NPWS Regulation as a 'structure / installation / engineering work/ in park'), they risked being fined $500 each. Any persons caught or reported constructing or helping to construct or work on an illegal track are also liable to a fine of $500 each plus may be liable for the costs or removing the illegal work & rehabilitating the area.

Please emphasize to your website users that mountain bikes may ONLY be ridden on designated fire trails in Garigal & Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Parks. There are NO legal single tracks for mountain bikes in Garigal & Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Parks.

Mountain bike riding IS ILLEGAL on designated walking trails (see maps available of Garigal & Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Parks for details), illegal single bike tracks (e.g., off Cascades Track, Heath/Bare Creek Tracks, Slippery Dip Track, Bantry Bay Track, track off Monavale Road before the Bahai Temple, etc), or tracks with 'WALKERS ONLY' signs, or tracks with a 'no bikes' symbol signs, or illegal tracks with 'no bikes' totem signs.

Anyone caught using those tracks will be fined $300 on the spot, and anyone caught using illegally constructed tracks or facilities in Garigal & Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Parks can expect to be fined $500

Mountain biking is recognised, acknowledged & promoted as a legitimate & very worthwhile recreational use of National Parks, BUT, it must be undertaken legally & safely on designated tracks & fire trails only.

The minority of Mountain Bike riders abusing the rules & using the illegal tracks are not only causing significant environmental damage, but are creating a very negative impression that tarnishes the majority of riders that do the ring thing.

Sydney North Region of NPWS is currently consulting with other NPWS Regions & working with local Councils to better manage mouintain bike recreation & improve access to suitable tracks & areas in the Region.

In additon, you should be aware that any organised sporting event in a National Park that has 20 or more participants (such as some of your organised rides) requires a Consent from NPWS, Anyone organising or participating in an unauthorised (no consent) sporting event with 20 or more participants can be liable to a fine of $300.

To obtain a consent for an organised sporting (eg, mountain bike) event in Garigal & Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Parks in the Northern Beaches Area please contact our office in Forestville on 9451 3479.

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