Ok, mountain bikers are reasonable because we agree that mountain biking does indeed cause erosion in some cases when the trail in question is not designed to IMBA standards to suit mountain biking. But when they are designed sustainably to suit the user (mountain bikers) from the start, erosion is on par with walking trails.Ken Higgs from the National Parks Association said bikes formed erosion gullies and destroyed plants.
''They travel fast, accelerate hard, turn sharply, brake hard and skid frequently,'' he wrote in a letter to the NSW Government in July. ''These activities cause significant disturbance to the ground and any nearby vegetation.''
I don't think there is much in there to get too wound up about. It would have been nice for the mtb side to have gotten more of a response to the claims but I think on the whole the NPA once again comes across as a extremist. They are quicky becoming a dinosaur and they know it.An interesting article from Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald.
Once again we see the usual arguments against mtb coming to the fore, from the NPA.
“…But conservationists say mountain bikes have no place in national parks because they cause serious damage to the environment. Ken Higgs from the National Parks Association said bikes formed erosion gullies and destroyed plants.”
This argument may have some merit, sure that sounds strange from a mtb group, but this is only because many trail systems are not built to be sustainable. This shouldn’t however be an argument to remove a user from a park. I could show you many examples of walking trail in National Parks (yes I am a walker as well) that suffer from severe erosion. Again, these issues are more down to trail design than it is the walkers themselves.
For the good of national parks, groups like the NPA need to move away from the mindset that the current trails are eroded therefore the entire sport is an issue. Lets look towards actually managing the parks, exclusion is NOT a for of management, in a sustainable way. Properly planned, built and maintained trails eliminate most of the concerns raised by the NPA for both walking and cycling trails. The issue we have currently is that the trails are not designed for a cycling use, or any use for that matter and that suits the propganda of the NPA.
The issue of cycling access needs to be looked at on a case by case basis depending on the park and its inherent constraints. A park bounded by urban development will always have more pressure upon it than a remote park. This is where the uses need to be managed. Exclusion leads to illegal use which in the long term will always be to the parks detriment. Sustainable trails are the only solution to this issue.
Fortunately there are examples popping up where the NPWS have looked at the issue in a level headed way in an attempt to proactively manage a park and the impacts upon it.
Thats massive! Hopefully IMBA steps up to fix this and use some of the membership dollars to fight this hard. Is there anything we can do from over here, surveys, emails?This is a bit of a worry
Considering they are talking about places that are OK for horse riders it's unbelievable that they could argue that MTB cause more damage...
This is really good news, a very desired outcome, excellent work NPWS, NOBMOB and all others involved.Selection, design and development of sustainable trails
All good for warm fuzzy feelings but unlikely to change anything on the ground in the near future.See all the details here
Thanks to all from Nobmob that where able to take part in this very constructive meeting.
I am amazed and impressed at the scale of this meeting, Glen Jacobs! IMBA! MTBA and NPWS Directors! All together making the Northern beaches a more enjoyable and sustainable place for Mountain biking.Am i dreaming? If so please dont wake me
[FONT="]The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and a number of northern Sydney mountain bike groups met this week to work on ways to establish one of the finest urban mountain trail bike systems in Australia.[/FONT]
[FONT="]A key focus was addressing some of the immediate issues around impacts to parks following the explosion in the popularity of this type of outdoor recreation. [/FONT]
[FONT="]NPWS Regional Manager, Chris McIntosh said the meeting was held to discuss the impacts of mountain bike riding and to examine what opportunities exist for more sustainable and more enjoyable mountain bike tracks in Sydney’s northern bushland. [/FONT]
[FONT="]“It was a very positive and constructive meeting and it was obvious right from the start that the mountain bike groups were very serious about working with us to minimise rider impacts but also to encourage greater use, enjoyment and appreciation of some of the world’s best bushland areas,” said Mr McIntosh. [/FONT]
[FONT="]“After an eye opening field inspection we agreed to develop a joint agreement that will outline some broad principles and some agreed strategies that we will all work on over the next five years.[/FONT]
[FONT="]“In developing a track network, careful consideration will be given to the interests of other user groups such as bushwalkers and horseriders, the high erosiveness of the soils, the cost of construction and maintenance, rehabilitation of damaged areas and the impacts on threatened species, rare vegetation types and significant Aboriginal sites”. [/FONT]
[FONT="]In order to provide a sustainable yet diverse and challenging experience for cyclists will also require a region-wide approach, with linkages across the various public lands and involvement of other state and local government land managers. [/FONT]
[FONT="]“We agreed at the meeting to work together and to engage other land managers to develop a Mountain Trail Bike Strategy for northern Sydney, which will follow a process proposed by International Mountain [/FONT][FONT="]Bicycling[/FONT][FONT="]Association (IMBA) Australia, ensuring the continuing involvement of mountain bike riders while also utilising best practice in track design and construction to minimise environmental impacts.[/FONT]
[FONT="]“NPWS has successfully worked through similar issues with bike groups in the Royal National Park and Glenrock State Conservation Area and we are hoping we can do the same in northern Sydney[/FONT][FONT="]” he said. [/FONT]
[FONT="]Mountain biking representatives from Dee Why, Manly, Warringah and Hornsby attended the workshop as well as peak bodies Mountain Bike Australia, IMBA and a number of NPWS staff.[/FONT]
[FONT="]Nicolas Bowman of IMBA was pleased with the meeting and the mutually agreed outcomes.[/FONT]
[FONT="]“I thought the meeting was very beneficial and certainly a step in the right direction,” Mr Bowman said.[/FONT]
[FONT="]“The NPWS fully supports and encourages mountain biking undertaken legally and safely– it’s a great way to enjoy our national parks, in fact we have already started designing a new mountain bike Discovery tour,” Mr McIntosh said.[/FONT]
[FONT="]There are more than 100 kilometres of management trails within our national parks in northern Sydney that are currently available for use by mountain bike riders and we intend to take best advantage of these as part of the development of a region wide network of trails. [/FONT]