NSW Increased visitation to National parks: Have your say


Likes Dirt
Friends Of Warringah Meet To Discuss MTB Single Trail

Manly Daily Wednesday Oct 7,2009

Page 6: Search for middle ground on bike use.

A proposal to allow mountain bike riders to use single trails in national parks will be one of the several topics discussed at the next meeting of the friends of warringah tonight at the North Curl Curl SLSC........

The entire story can be found here http://digitaledition.manlydaily.com.au/

There are some interesting quotes from Richard Michell (spokesperson for Friends Of Warringah) in regards to "middle ground".

The meeting begins at the North Curl Curl SLSC at 7:30pm tonight.

Is anyone going from the Northern Beaches or Sydney?

Someone needs to stand up for us when the issue of erosion is brought up:

The most likely Question to arise: but mountain biking on single trail leads to erosion does it not?.

Answer:Yes, you are correct to a degree, given the trail is of poor design and of poor construction, there can be erosion, but the same is true when walking trails are designed poorly.

On the other hand if the mtb single trail has been designed to IMBA sustainable standards(explain) and motor bikes are restrained from using them, erosion is minimal and has been proven by studies scientifically to be on par with walking/hiking.

Question:OK, why is it that we can see evidence of erosion on certain single trails already,

Answer:On the northern beaches most erosion on single trails has been caused largely by Motorbikes riding up the single trail in the wet.
Mountain bikers however when legally allowed to ride on single trail, take an active approach to volunteer and keep the trails maintained to a sustainable level.


Likes Dirt
NPWS Advocacy issue in the SMH!

This was in print,page 13 of the Sydney Morning Herald


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.''
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.

Walkers can also cause erosion gullies.
If the trail is not designed properly with appropriate steps and or water bars to stop water picking up speed on extremely step slopes that walking tracks are so often built on, erosion will most certainly occur.
Appropriate trail armoring must also be used to stop hiking boots ripping up the really steep sections of trails; if this is not done erosion will most certainly occur.

Raised boardwalks must be put in to raise the walker above sensitive vegetation; if this is not done walkers will most certainly damage or destroy plants.

So from the above we can see that the main argument environment/ lobby groups have used against us for so long, is fatally flawed.
If they want to use the argument of "Bikes cause erosion", they must also admit that "walker’s cause erosion".

If environmental groups where infact reasonable and factual, they would say, "Ok millions of $'s are spent every year to make sure each and every walking trail is built to a sustainable standard with steps, armoring, raised boardwalk’s and bridges". "If mountain bikes are to be allowed into National Parks we must be certain the same money and care is taken to make sure this legitimate recreational pursuit is implemented in a sustainable way”.” If this can be achieved it will be a great thing for national parks as the next generation will be enjoying the national parks whilst developing a sense of appreciation for their existence and thus be much more inclined to volunteer in the park and to make sure they are around forever".

I’m kind of glad Ken Higgs wrote what was quoted at the top, because the decision makers at DECC and NPWS know when someone is being deceptive and one sided.
Similar to the Lane cove POM public meeting, we (mountain bikers) im sure where seen to be reasonable, whilst some from the environmental groups where seen to be fanatical.

We should all take this as a lesson to rise above and be mild, calm and reasonable at all times when dealing with NPWS and Environmentalists.
People catch on real quick to those that are fanatical, if we are reasonable and stick to the facts/studies and show that sustainable mountain bike single trails can and have been successfully built and maintained in parks and National Parks both in Australia and the world over!


NSWMTB, Hunter MTB Association
My response to this article is on TwentySixInches.com.

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.
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.

They were up inspecting Glenrock with the NPWS this weekend, so I will be interested to see how that panned out. I don't think it will have changed there opinion but the NPWS were hoping to show them that correctly built and maintained trails do function for the cause they were designed.

I do like though that a National Park isn't really the venue for sport, I thought walking was a sport??


Likes Dirt
Manly Daily Today!

Massive cover story over 2 pages in regards to mountain biking!

Sorry cant find a link yet, digital edition has yesterdays paper still up.

Great effort made my nobmob and others in the pro mountain bike section.

Really disappointed of how misinformed or how deceiving the "Greens" where for getting those pictures published. I know the exact spots, they are in Garigal and they are 100% from Motor Bikers coming up that trail in the wet (when nobody is around). Very easy to refute.

If anyone that is reading this has doubts that it was caused by motorbikes, spend a few weekends especially in the wet around the single trails in question and listen for the motorbikers.

All we should do when the greens bring up those pictures is kindly and calmly, show many pictures of manly dam, the most trafficked mountain bike trail in Sydney, and humbly point out that there is no trenches, no massive ruts,no erosion to speak of.
Why is this?

1. Because it is used by only mountain bikers and walkers, not motorbikes.

2. Because it is maintained and designed to be sustainable.

The single trail in the pictures they took is frequented by high powered motorbikes that regularly churn up the trail.

The single trail in the pictures is an informal trail has never been designed sustainably and has never had any maintenance.


Likes Dirt
Massive meeting between NPWS and Mountain Bike Groups!

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:)

Selection, design and development of sustainable trails
This is really good news, a very desired outcome, excellent work NPWS, NOBMOB and all others involved.

World Trail being involved at a consultation level means good things, he really knows how to build fun, relevant and sustainable trails!
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NSWMTB, Central Tableland MBC
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:)
All good for warm fuzzy feelings but unlikely to change anything on the ground in the near future.

Props to Rob for continuing to agitate for change though. It's lonely, thankless job

This is really good news, a very desired outcome, excellent work NPWS, NOBMOB and all others involved.

World Trail being involved at a consultation level means good things, he really knows how to build fun, relevant and sustainable trails!


Likes Dirt
Just to keep it all in the one place

NPWS Media Release

[FONT=&quot]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=&quot]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=&quot]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=&quot]“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=&quot]“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=&quot]“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=&quot]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=&quot]“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=&quot]Bicycling[/FONT][FONT=&quot]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=&quot]“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=&quot]” he said. [/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]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=&quot]Nicolas Bowman of IMBA was pleased with the meeting and the mutually agreed outcomes.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]“I thought the meeting was very beneficial and certainly a step in the right direction,” Mr Bowman said.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]“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=&quot]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]


Likes Dirt
Announcing MTBSSN!

(if you have a nobmob login, you can also use it for this site)

If you have idea's of where you would like legal single trails to be built anywhere in Sydney's North Shore/northern beaches, whether DH or XC or a combination, please login and submit your ideas asap (please take some time, do some research and submit something useful)

The Mountain Bike Strategy for Sydney North is a work in progress name proposed in November 2009 for those involved in trail planning, mainly for mountain bike riding in the North of Sydney. This came about after a meeting with NPWS and other clubs and stakeholders with representatives from the following:

•DYMTB - Dee Why Mountain Bike Club
•HSMBA - Hornsby Shire Mountain Bike Alliance
•IMBA Australia
•MTBA - Mountain Bike Australia
•MWMTB - Manly Warringah Mountain Bike Club
•NoBMoB - Northern Beaches Mountain Biking Group
•NSW National Parks
•World Trail

The idea of this site is to take the collaborative spirit from this meeting and expand on that. This site serves the following purpose:

•As a place to spread news about trail development and advocacy in the Sydney North region.
•As a place to discuss the issues, ideas and processes for better trail development and maintainence in the area.
•As a place for users from all disciplines and recreational pursuits to post ideas for where they would like to see trails created.

On that last point, it should be made very clear: The trails depicted on this site are fictitious! They are simply users ideas of what may be possible. They do not exist now and may well never exist. However, without getting ideas, and lots of them out in the open we may never know what is possible and what is not. So this is an open invitation to the community - post your ideas and share your wildest trail dreams. Discover how the land managers, other stakeholders and wider community receive them and hope that at least some of them come to fruition through the processes being worked on at this time.