VIC Lysterfield trail survey (please help!)

Plankosaurus

Hydraulic Jack specialist
As we all know, parks have gone completely bonkers of late. It feels as though they want to shut out any user groups that cause them to use any of their budget (honestly, this is the only reason I can think of for the treatment of mountain bikers and climbers of late).

LDTR has just spent a big portion of its bank account on a report that highlights the benefits that MTB brings to the park and society in general, and the important role that Lysterfield plays in that. This is a big read, and so is the report, and it will take some time to fill in the survey and send emails. But please give us a hand, I know lysty isn't up the top of most peoples ride destination list, but we get more traffic than any other park and play a pivotal role in getting people off the couch and into the sport. We had 60 people at our first kids social ride last month, and another 40 are signed up already for Sunday's ride!

Thanks for your help guys, and spread the word as far as you can please. The more voices are heard the better chance we have of gaining some ground (and maybe some new trails!?!)

.........

Parks Victoria is in the process of amending the existing Management Plan for Lysterfield Park, to reflect changes in park visitation and use. They are now seeking feedback from the community on valued features of the park and opportunities for improvement. LDTR is highly supportive of the management plan review, seeing this as an opportunity for greater recognition of mountain biking in the park and an opportunity to improve the trail network and wider mountain bike facilities. As such, we encourage all club members (and mountain bike users of the Lysterfield Park) to complete the user survey to help guide the revision of the Management Plan. This should take no more than 10 minutes (depending on your passion!)(https://engage.vic.gov.au/churchill-national-park-and-lysterfield-park-management-plan-amendment). Consultation closes 26th January 2020.

The LDTR has been advocating for the improvement and expansion of the MTB trails in Lysterfield. The review of the Management Plan is a critical stage in this process and could either facilitate or hinder this work. It’s important that Parks Victoria hear from as many MTB riders as possible. Details of the efforts of LDTR are provided below, along with what LDTR consider as potential threats and the action you can take to help advocate for a better ride experience.

Background to LDTR advocacy
In May 2018 LDTR submitted an exciting proposal to Parks Victoria to significantly improve the mountain bike experience in Lysterfield Park. The intention was to increase the mix of available trails, to more appropriately reflect rider demand and the types of bikes people are now riding. Industry feedback and surveys conducted by LDTR suggest a preference for more challenging descent trails, along with a longer intermediate trail (to take the load off the most primary loop at Lysterfield, Buckle- Middle– Redgum – Hug). Additionally, the club intended to add an all abilities beginner loop, given that our current beginner loop is mostly made up of vehicle tracks or easy intermediate rated trail. At the same time, we proposed to Parks Victoria: i) the formalization of the informal trails to the north of Wellington Road; ii)the addition of several linking tracks and iii) an expansion of the skills park (rather than a simple rebuild). All up there were 24 trails in the proposal, of varying length. The intention was to use professional trail builders for all new trails.

In Early 2019, after many meetings between Parks Victoria and LDTR, Parks Victoria agreed to 7 of the 24 trails proposed. These were: an inner beginner loop; a short climbing trail in the granite link area; a descent trail from the trig point to the top of Aneurysm; Top of SMBC climb to trig point link (already an informal trail); juniors mini race loop next to the race village; A link trail from Middle to the bottom of Aneurism; and the Montague link to café (already ½ built). Two more trails were approved however they were heavily modified from the original concept and include many vehicle tracks, and one is a shared use trail. The skills park expansion was also declined in full, with no suitable explanation as to why.

LDTR believe the missing trails are a big oversight in recognizing what people want to ride and the link to the types of informal trails being built in the park, that is blue/black rated descending type trails. Of the 7 descending trails proposed by LDTR, only one has been approved in full and another approved with the inclusion of vehicle tracks and the designation as a shared use trail, meaning it would be unlikely to have MTB specific features (e.g. jumps) for safety reasons.

Concerns of the Management Plan revision
As part of the Management Plan update, Parks Victoria is reviewing the existing zones and overlays in the park. LDTR is greatly concerned by the proposed amendments, which if adopted, would prohibit the meaningful expansion of the mountain bike trail network. LDTR considers this unreasonable, believing the proposed overlay: i) does not truly represent the value of the biodiversity in the park; ii) fails to acknowledge that trails can be designed to avoid biological or culturally significant locations and built and maintained with limited disturbance; and iii) does not reflect the high demand for mountain biking and new mountain bike trails in the Park.

LDTR carefully considered the current overlays as detailed in the existing Management Plan when planning our trail expansion, avoiding all Special Protection Area ( SPA). In the new overlays proposed for the revised Management Plan, the SPA will increase from 39.7ha to 926.9ha, an increase of 2234%, and will cover almost 50% of the park. The current and draft overlays can be downloaded on the same page as the survey - https://engage.vic.gov.au/churchill-national-park-and-lysterfield-park-management-plan-amendment)

LDTR recently commissioned Price Waterhouse Coopers to undertake an economic impact assessment of our proposed extension of MTB Trails in Lysterfield. This study showed a positive Benefit-cost ratio of a massive 2.95, with multiple economic, social and health benefits. https://www.lysterfieldmtb.com/advocacy please follow this link to download the assessment. Feel free to use any of the findings of this report when completing the PV survey.

As mountain biking is increasingly recognised for its tourism potential, the amount of investment in regional areas for the sport has skyrocketed, especially compared to equivalent investment in metropolitan areas. LDTR believes Lysterfield Park is well positioned to cater to this rising demand and continued growth of the sport, however, investment is required. Lysterfield park has the largest existing demand and is the closest trail network to the CBD, yet it has the smallest trail length relative to the size of the park. This demonstrates both desirability of the park and the potential for the expansion.
Here are some key findings from the report:

  • A benefit to cost ratio of 2.95! 2.7 Million investment - 2.2 Million upfront with a 55K recurrent annual funding for Parks Victoria. - LDTR acknowledges the need for continued maintenance of the proposed and existing trails.
  • The top three reasons why we ride Mountain Bikes are for Mental Health, Social benefits and to ride with the family. Our proposed investment is predicted to attract more than 2,800 news riders to the park.
  • MTBA has seen a 267% increase in memberships in Victoria from 2010 to 2015 and LDTR a 75% increase in members over the past three years!
  • Did you know 9 of the top 10 most ridden MTB trails in Australia are at Lysterfield?
Please download the report HERE - https://www.lysterfieldmtb.com/advocacy

What can you do?

In The Survey

  • Provide PV with feedback in the survey to maintain the current overlays on the park, this will ensure any future trail proposals – from any user group - have even a chance to see the light of day.
  • Ask PV to reconsider LDTR’s trail expansion proposal in full, including the significant skills park expansion and the need for many more blue/black rated descending trails.
  • Fill out the survey by Jan 26th!! https://engage.vic.gov.au/churchill-national-park-and-lysterfield-park-management-plan-amendment
Email – Asking for their support of the LDTR trail expansion
- Contact your local MP and ask for their support the three key MP’s in the parks area are:
luke.donnellan@parliament.vic.gov.au
james.merlino@parliament.vic.gov.au
lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au

- Contact the Casey, Yarra Rangers and Knox council and ask for their support of our trail expansion proposal:
caseycc@casey.vic.gov.au
knoxcc@knox.vic.gov.au
mail@yarraranges.vic.gov.au

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Plankosaurus

Hydraulic Jack specialist
Submitted.
Thanks heaps

Even if you don't ride lysty, or you're interstate, the results here could have an impact. If we get a win, we've set a precedent, other vic clubs could follow suit and they'd have a better idea of a plan of attack. I don't know what land management is like interstate but results here could be useful if you start seeing the same sort of thing.

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Plankosaurus

Hydraulic Jack specialist
I'd say more horse riders joined parks somewhere higher up the chain..
I feel like it's walkers and runners being given the big thumbs up. Almost no ambo calls, trees down aren't a big priority, just as happy on a fire trail as anything else usually. The rest of us are too high maintenance I guess?

Hmmm some truly head scratching determinations coming out of Parks Vic at times.....
Dubbya tee eff to the power of huh?
Nfi what's going on up the chain, but they're making life difficult. And it's not just us, might even be worth getting the clubs together in some way to form a united front



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Duane

Likes Bikes and Dirt
PV are becoming very risk adverse. Any user group that has the potential for major/serious injury is on the nose.
The club spent a lot on that study. Hope it pays off or there will be some stupid looking committee members who took it apon themselves to spend the clubs funds on an independent financial benefits study.
 

teK--

Eats Squid
Done!

Also was very surprised by this "Did you know 9 of the top 10 most ridden MTB trails in Australia are at Lysterfield?"
 

Plankosaurus

Hydraulic Jack specialist
PV are becoming very risk adverse. Any user group that has the potential for major/serious injury is on the nose.
The club spent a lot on that study. Hope it pays off or there will be some stupid looking committee members who took it apon themselves to spend the clubs funds on an independent financial benefits study.
I beleive it was a bit of a make or break moment,here's little point in having that money in the account if PV wont let us build trails with it. I know it was pushed through by some of the more senior members, but we had ample opportunity to disagree. Given what we've seen recently with trails being levelled and features removed, plus the threat of losing trails or further sanitizing, I'd agree that this is about as good a use of club funds as we're going to see in the immediate future.

Fingers crossed this works in out favor. i was this close > < to choosing another club after what ive seen recently, not because of LDTR but because of PV. I only stayed because i was super keen to see a juniors program started here, it really is a perfect trail network to build this on.
 

nzhumpy

Googlemeister who likes bikes and scandal
I'll submit tomorrow, 'coz bikes are fun and stuff... but as @Duane mentioned above with the risk factor of our chosen activity some of PV decisions are valid and make sense, which means we also need to be prepared to educate people who ride the trails.

To put that in context I've only ridden there once. Xmas Eve this year, half way down the Comm Games descent we came across a poor chap that had obviously buggered his shoulder pretty badly, we tried to patch him up as best we could and offered to call an Ambo ... Nope we couldn't call the ambos because ol' mate wasn't covered for it, so he called his wife to come to the trail head to take him into A&E - but then has to call the rangers to get him to the trail head, they say that they'll see what they can do and then ol' mate starts going off at the phone operator. Not helpful.

I am the first to support, and to want to see what LDTR proposes to go ahead - but we need to be realistic also and make sure riders are prepared with the right kind of cover @Plankosaurus comment on walkers/runners.
 

Plankosaurus

Hydraulic Jack specialist
i dont think that LDTR can really be expected to make people not be stupid. dude was probably not in his right mind, but he alone made that call to not have ambo cover, not have mtb cover, refuse an ambo, and abuse operators. If its an issue at lysterfields blue trails (masquarading as black trails), then it'll be an issue at a LOT of other places too, and it'll eventually hit your local trails.

I get the stance on minimising harm, there's just gotta be a better way of doing it than levelling the trails and stopping any further development in its tracks. But I'm sure LDTR would be more than willing to lend a hand in education ...if they weren't so busy filling out piles of paperwork to rebuild a 2 foot jump, or fighting to help PV realize the full potential of the park.
 

nzhumpy

Googlemeister who likes bikes and scandal
Yeah, I know, there is no easy answer, and we can't make people either be insured or not idiots - but there has to be more than a single response. We all want the same thing, and that means there needs to be a multi-pronged approach to dealing with it - and an acknowledgement of the likely response to such things by local government (or any government) in Australia. That's all that I was trying to capture with the previous example.

Edit: I also get that there is no easy answer to the education v paperwork/advocacy situation - and I come from a kiwi perspective that is far less risk averse than Aus (from a public liability perspective). Appreciate what the LDTR is doing, like I said I have only ridden there once. There is a great network there, you guys are miles ahead of us in NSW, with great potential for something similar to expand elsewhere.
 
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mike14

Likes Bikes
Submitted (like I did for the Youies) but not sure it will do much good. PV seems to have a bit of a bee in its bonnet about mtbing, and with Tassie being a short and (relatively) cheap trip away it is sadly looking like more and more of my riding $$ are going to be over there rather than in to Victoria.

Is it just a case of PV wanting to divest themselves of ownership? A mate sent me a trail map for a new Warburton network, and a fair bit of effort went in to Harcourt recently which seem at odds with what we are seeing elsewhere. Were they not PV land and so that's what they'd prefer moving forward?
 

Daniel Hale

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Submitted (like I did for the Youies) but not sure it will do much good. PV seems to have a bit of a bee in its bonnet about mtbing, and with Tassie being a short and (relatively) cheap trip away it is sadly looking like more and more of my riding $$ are going to be over there rather than in to Victoria.

Is it just a case of PV wanting to divest themselves of ownership? A mate sent me a trail map for a new Warburton network, and a fair bit of effort went in to Harcourt recently which seem at odds with what we are seeing elsewhere. Were they not PV land and so that's what they'd prefer moving forward?
harcourt is on delwp land
both creswick & to a lesser extent harcourt had pressure bought from local state member, this overrules parks..which is the only way to get things done...parks have said no mtb trails will ever be legalised in the macedon ranges, and the guy from melbourne told me if i want to run a race i should run it at the you yangs...but i can’t run a 24 cos that would be perceived as camping, which is illegal
 

Duane

Likes Bikes and Dirt
I know it was pushed through by some of the more senior members, but we had ample opportunity to disagree.

Fingers crossed this works in out favor. i was this close > < to choosing another club after what ive seen recently, not because of LDTR but because of PV. I only stayed because i was super keen to see a juniors program started here, it really is a perfect trail network to build this on.
I wasn't made aware until I was told by a committee member after the fact but I could have easily missed it.

I am a member of 3 clubs, I didn't renew my LDTR membership and chose to support 3 clubs where I ride or clubs that support gravity racing. My son however still has LDTR with my contact details on his race license so I should still receive correspondence. Trying to spread the support to a range of clubs.
We rarely ride there now as Silvan is just as close for us and more suitable for our type of riding. LDTR have no presence at any racing events understandably as they are a trailriding club based on one location so it also makes it less appealing for part time wannabe racers.
I wish them success but it looks like an uphill battle.
Warburton isn't too far from me so I'm impatiently waiting for that to kick off.
 
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Ackland

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Is it of concern that the project manager for the Warburton trail system was previously the Lysterfield ranger?
 

Plankosaurus

Hydraulic Jack specialist
Is it of concern that the project manager for the Warburton trail system was previously the Lysterfield ranger?
Some of the Rangers have been great, so not sure. Also not sure how much is due to the Rangers, it might be pressure from further up...

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Plankosaurus

Hydraulic Jack specialist
Email this morning from one of the members driving this at Ldtr. If you haven't yet done the survey, can you please jump on ASAP? Every little bit helps, we want to go into this with plenty of ammo...



G'day LDTR committee, the PV survey closes This Sunday.


I hope you have all taken the opportunity to have your say and just as importantly I hope you have contacted our/your local council and MP's.


I have meetings with both James Merlino and Luke Donellan tomorrow and I'm hoping their inboxes have been flooded by emails from supportive MTB riders.


See below an example of what I've been sending to our local councils, I've also edited it and sent it to every councillor in the Casey council. Feel free to copy and paste and make it your own. Ideally by today/tonight - In particular, the MP's.


From what I can gather around 60% of the survey respondents have been from MTB riders, based on the spike I've seen since we started our campaign.




Cheers


Ben




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