Tasmania - the secrets unlocked...

Ackland

Likes Bikes and Dirt
is it correct in SA you guys have done a pretty good job of not using the big trail companies, but using your own or local built
Historically in some tenures yes. Mostly informal trails that were later formalised.

The issue is that depending on the land manager and the exact piece of land, there are levels of detail for trail development that clubs and/or small groups cannot (or do not want to) go into.
  • native veg assessments
  • public risk assessments
  • Insurance during construction
  • public liability
  • Defects periods
Some of this can be covered off by master planning, however I have rarely seen a trail which is constructed to the exact alignment designed by a consultant sometimes years before the construction commences.
 

Sekt

Likes Dirt
I hope everyone who's got an interest in Hobart riding has submitted some feedback on the plan, even if it's just general support!

I'd like to address a few things mentioned, 'cause I feel like there are some misconceptions and misunderstandings about some things. I think reading the summary and the report probably clears a lot of it up, but I understand not everyone has time for that. I'm pointing out this stuff as a rider who's been involved in Hobart trail advocacy, building and planning in various little ways over the years, and also someone who's lived in MTB towns overseas (Queenstown and Whistler).

This plan doesn't really relate to the Greater Hobart Mountain Bike Master Plan, though that document was referenced. In fact, the new plan exists because the GHMBMP has pretty much run its course and mountian biking has changed a hell of a lot since that plan was first penned (and it was a pretty flawed document to start with). If you go back and read that plan, a bunch of stuff actually did get done based on it (S56, Slides, Tip Top, Jurassic Shark), it's just that it wasn't a very good guiding document to start wth (in my opinion), so the results suffered somewhat. I don't think the execution was flawless by any means, but action was definitely taken!

Dirt Art wrote the report, but how it gets built is yet to be decided. The council has a robust planning and procurement process, and that means that as each track gets built (subject to funding), they'll figure out who's building it and how. It might be their in-house tracks team (who just finished Stumpside, Pitfall and Drops), or it might be any number of external trail building contractors who are on the procurement panel. Simon (and Dirt Art) has been heavily involved in the Hobart scene over the years, but I don't believe he has anything to do with the club these days, so suggestions that Dirt Art are somehow pushing their own agenda through the club are just flat wrong.

The Council did receive grant funding which has see the recent new Missing Link project built (that's Stumpside, Pitfall and Drops), and the remainder of that funding is being used to get started on Stage 1 of the plan (hopefully, if Council approve it, so go leave feedback!). The MTB Network Plan came about because there was a lack of direction for how to best use that grant funding, so this is a chance for riders to actually have their say! Rather than just building a track and calling it done, they decided to develop a more strategic approach that would allow tracks to be built that slowly contributed to a wider network over the years. No, it's not oging to happen all at once, but as it does happen, you know it's going to be working towards a single vision. That's a good thing!

Sure, the remaining funding isn't going to cover all of it, but it will make for a good start. The first priority is the climb from Bracken Lane to North-South, something that's been missing for years. And then sorting out Upper Luge with a climber, and then getting a link back from North-South down to Main Fire Trail. It might not happen in that order though, the idea of the public feedback is to help drive that decision making! For the record, North-South cost a shitload (I was flabergasted back then as well), but it travelled through some crazy terrain. The new plan focuses on the lower slopes for that exact reason, it's easier to build down there and you get more bang for your buck!

Support so far has been really good, from all corners of the community. There's been a group of dedicated riders of all ages, skill levels and disciplines who've been involved in shaping this right from the start. They've put time and effort and thought into it, in order to get it happening, by providing feedback you support their hard work!

And now to the crux of it, and something I've learned from riding other places:

We riders in Hobart have a tendency to expect things to be handed to us on a plate. We want more trails, we want massive amounts of money spent on them, and we want them yesterday. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way in most places. Any of the massive MTB tourism destinations that you've seen have been built on YEARS of blood, sweat and tears from local riders and trail advocacy groups. Queenstown Mountain Bike Club work for years on the planning of each new trail they get put in, and Whistler has a 40+ year history of ridiculously dedicated riders advocating for trails. And I don't mean complaining about it with their mates, I mean getting together, getting organised, and getting shit done (Get Shit Done is the unofficial motto of the QMBC, just to demonstrate their attitude).

So yes, more trails will be awesome, but we, as riders, need to get organised, get vocal, get out there and start busting our arses to make it happen. We can hope for local government to do it for us, but until we're making enough noise as an organised group, and showing our willingness to put in some hard work of our own, then it's going to be slow going. It's worked in other places and it will work here, it's just gonna take some effort (just like it does everywhere else).

We're living in an amazing time right now, in the sense that mountain biking is exploding and government at all levels is paying attention. We just need to harness that energy and make the most of it. Providing feedback on the network plan is a ridiculously easy way to play your part!

I hope that's cleared some stuff up, and I hope you do leave some feedback. With enough support the plan will get approved, and then the job becomes making sure it gets built. If we make enough noise, that'll happen.
 

nathanm

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Dirt Art wrote the report, but how it gets built is yet to be decided.
Simon (and Dirt Art) has been heavily involved in the Hobart scene over the years, but I don't believe he has anything to do with the club these days, so suggestions that Dirt Art are somehow pushing their own agenda through the club are just flat wrong.

We riders in Hobart have a tendency to expect things to be handed to us on a plate. We want more trails, we want massive amounts of money spent on them, and we want them yesterday. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way in most places.

So yes, more trails will be awesome, but we, as riders, need to get organised, get vocal, get out there and start busting our arses to make it happen.
Some really good information and responses in there. Whilst not wanting to cherry pick certain comments I did want to respond to a couple of things mentioned.

Firstly no, Simon and Dirt Art are no longer involved with the club but have been over the last 10-15 years including several years as president/vice president I believe treasurer and worst of all the specifically appointed "Trail Advocate".

A few years ago a small team of dedicated DH riders (including myself) ran a succesful statewide race series and spent hundreds of hours rebuilding DH tracks in the area/state for the club/clubs on a purely voluntary basis. We were also trying to work with both the club and Scouts Tasmania to get a trail network/park, built at the Lea but just never got the club support we needed despite interest from the Scouts.

The "Trail Advocate" provided absolutely no assistance, despite having all the necessary resources through his company and many, many requests. The club itself also couldn't/wouldn't assist as they simply didn't have the interest, financial or personal resources and was a huge opportunity missed to develop a trail network on private property, doing away with the need for council approval which has always been the biggest roadblock for local MTB.

This saw us walk away from the club/series and is a good example of the many, many missed opportunities which has held back MTB development in the south of state.

As per their modus operandi Dirt Art did fulfill their commitment a year or two later. Running an excavator down the track dozing our hundreds of hours of work and putting in a bunch of bike park style mounds/jumps, changing it from a perfect beginner DH track to an advanced track.

That series was also sponsored by Dirt Art under the guise they would assist with trail building but did not spend a single minute doing so. They were a round sponsor at Glenorchy and were supposed to prep and repair the track and again didn't do a single thing, despite (i believe) having the maintenance contract on it at the time and that round almost never went ahead as it was unsafe. We later met with the club and the GCC about the issue and did a walk over with their parks/rec staff who were surprised at it's condition considering what they were spending.

They subsequently lost the contract and were very vocal in blaming (complaints from) local riders for it. Ironically they were reappointed again later on and ran an excavator down the XC descent again removing years of work done by volunteer trail builders. Again this resulted in the local maintenance crew pulling the pin on the club and moving into their own private enterprise and refusing to work again with the Dirt Devils/Dirt Art.

Funnily enough Luke Chiu? became/was the Glenorchy recreation officer at the time of their reappointement (or similar position) and after a few years of collarboration he left GCC to work with Dirt Art. Nepotism anyone? After that Glenorchy Bike Park has steadily fallen into disrepair with no maintenance or additonal trail, instead relying on traffic from North South riders. Glenorchy is a typically bungling council though full of corruption and incompetence so much of the blame probably falls on them.

So, so many good volunteer trail builders and advocates became disenheartened during those years and quit out of frustration and we instead saw a plethora of black market trail building. Trails began springing up all over the back of the Meehan range, S57 got way out of control and SOHO begain looking like a rabbit warren to name a few. Council and private land owners were forced to crack down putting the cause years behind all whilst sanctioned areas were being neglected. I can only imagine how much new trail could have been built in the time taken to bulldoze and reform other peoples hard work.

The benefit form this initially illegal work was a huge trail network through Parks and Wildlife land on the Meehan range and into Clarence with their council seeming to have the most open mind to Mountain Biking. Through some fantastic advocacy PWS have sanctioned and allowed the trails and work to remain in place and now provides the biggest riding space in Greater Hobart.

But guess who has popped their head up again now everything is built. Yep, Dirt Art with their plan to open a Maydena style Bike Park. Whilst I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to partake in shuttles and use their service. I imagine theres a lot of pissed of people now their thousands of hours of work will service only to allow another to financially profit.

Kingborough council had a crack at building a park at Kingston again paying Dirt Art. The result was a swamp with some walking paths made of imported gravel and a shipping container. I heard through the grapevine that they even paid them for a maintenance package which was never delivered and will never spend a cent on MTB trails again because of the experience. (I think he also got funding for the earlier built dirt jumps at Browns River that got fell to bits and got bulldozed within a year, but I could be wrong).

They also started the work at Clarence Bike Park and were using a lot of volunteer labour to do so, but of course took sole credit for it. The original trails are god awful built into a shale slope and everything good out there was built either by later volunteers and I believe green corp labour but I've covered that.

As discussed he was also the lead on the master plan which again achieved very little other than repairing (again with volunteers) and getting sanctioned a few existing trails. The master plan was supposed to turn the Mountain into a mtb mecca but after 10-12 years and hundreds of thousands of tax payers dollars achieved nothing. Whilst there's blame to be appointed to pretty much everybody involved if you read the plan by Dirt Art it pretty much continously reference "If we" "we would" etc. it's a typical document designed to justify awarding the contract to the author.

I personally believe that a large contributing factor to the lack of trails in Hobart comes down to the interaction with the local councils. They've had nothing but poor experience every time they spend money. Add in the lack of any real advocacy group and a defunct local club and it's no surprise it's taken so long to get anything done.

So as Hobart/Tas riders do we expect everything handed to us on a plate? Well yes and no. The last few years have seen some progression particularly with the SOHO/Cascade land and all involved there needs to be thoroughly applauded and shows what can be done with the right people and attitude.

However the flip side is you look at what we have been given, namely Derby and now Scamander plus Wild Mersey and soon to be the West Coast. Certain forward thinking councils now realise that they can bring millions into their communities by paying good money to quality companies to build trails.

So yes I do think riders should expect trails to be handed to them on a platter. The days are long gone of dozens of people hand cutting trails with mattocks and rakes, which produced mediocre results and short term outcomes. Volunteer labour does not produce quality outcomes despite the best intentions and those types of trails are the ones that need the most maintenance. Eventually the interest drops aways and the trails fall into disrepair and become a liability issue for the land owner.

Mount Wellington is an icon and has always had massive potential to attract tens of millions dollars in tourism money from MTB. Riders travelling to the state enter through Launceston mostly and head straight to the East Coast and will soon divert via the North West and or the West Coast speding their money their.

The sooner the state Goverment and local council realise that a proper investment is needed to reap the rewards and leverage off our other venues the better we will all be. This is not something that a few local riders or a trail building company can ever really achieve as the only thing loud enough to change minds at the correct level is money.
 
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pink poodle

Our man in Japan
I've got some Omo for that dirty laundry boys, you ok to pay post? Well said though. Once the froth does down the corporate interest usually does too. If councils and governments are serious about bikes they need to build resilience into their own systems. They usually have machinery, labour, and resources that can be applied to the project.
 

Sekt

Likes Dirt
However the flip side is you look at what we have been given, namely Derby and now Scamander plus Wild Mersey and soon to be the West Coast. Certain forward thinking councils now realise that they can bring millions into their communities by paying good money to quality companies to build trails.
My point is that these projects didn't just happened, there was a lot of hard work in the lead up, and a huge amount of strategic planning. The results are fantastic, but it took a good while to get there. They were also undertaken by small councils desperate to find something to bring money into their regions. Hobart doesn't need that, so if we want it, we need to be vocal about it, and show that there is a large group of people who care enough to see it happen. Providing good feedback on this (really, really good) proposal is a great, easy way to do that, and it will help direct funding over the coming years (as it becomes available).

I think we could spend forever lamenting the bad old days of mountian biking in Tasmania, but we're far better off looking at what's possible in the future.

At the end of the day, councils are headed by elected members, who represent their constituents in the municipality. Big councils represent a lot of different people with different interests, wants and needs. Trail advocacy and lobby groups exist everywhere because they're a tried and true way of getting the views of the public heard by the people who pull the levers. I think that's a valuable thing to keep in mind, and I'd love to see a full blown trail advocacy group happening in Hobart again. I really think we're at a point in time where that organised voice would be very valuable, and would help ensure that funding gets secured and directed into good projects.
 
Reactions: PJO

dirtart

Likes Bikes
After much hesitation, in the interests of the project I have decided to buy in. Personally I find this forum a very toxic place at times and don’t often venture here. My comments are solely in the interest of recognising the importance and significance of this planning project.

After many years of attempts through various different consultants (9/10 weren’t Dirt Art) and groups we finally have a significant trail plan progressing through formal processes for an amazing network of new trails on Mt Wellington, and a local rider tries to turn this into a bad news story. This is simply unbelievable. We simply cannot understate how difficult it has been to get the project to this point through a very conservative council and management organisation, a challenger that has been shared by all those involved in the project.

This is the best opportunity we have ever had as riders to progress trail development on Mt Wellington, yet we still have a small minority of riders using the project as an opportunity to express their own misguided personal issues. Now more than ever riders should be uniting to support the most significant opportunity Hobart has ever had for mountain biking.

I won’t comment on this thread further, other than to say that Nathan Meyers comments are absolutely slanderous and completely unfounded. As with recent comments regarding our Maydena Bike Park project, Nathan’s only interest is on trolling any project we are involved with, which is deeply hurtful to our dedicated staff.

This thread should be focused solely on supporting this project, as all Tasmanian riders should be.

Simon @ Dirt Art

Some really good information and responses in there. Whilst not wanting to cherry pick certain comments I did want to respond to a couple of things mentioned.

Firstly no, Simon and Dirt Art are no longer involved with the club but have been over the last 10-15 years including several years as president/vice president I believe treasurer and worst of all the specifically appointed "Trail Advocate".

A few years ago a small team of dedicated DH riders (including myself) ran a succesful statewide race series and spent hundreds of hours rebuilding DH tracks in the area/state for the club/clubs on a purely voluntary basis. We were also trying to work with both the club and Scouts Tasmania to get a trail network/park, built at the Lea but just never got the club support we needed despite interest from the Scouts.

The "Trail Advocate" provided absolutely no assistance, despite having all the necessary resources through his company and many, many requests. The club itself also couldn't/wouldn't assist as they simply didn't have the interest, financial or personal resources and was a huge opportunity missed to develop a trail network on private property, doing away with the need for council approval which has always been the biggest roadblock for local MTB.

This saw us walk away from the club/series and is a good example of the many, many missed opportunities which has held back MTB development in the south of state.

As per their modus operandi Dirt Art did fulfill their commitment a year or two later. Running an excavator down the track dozing our hundreds of hours of work and putting in a bunch of bike park style mounds/jumps, changing it from a perfect beginner DH track to an advanced track.

That series was also sponsored by Dirt Art under the guise they would assist with trail building but did not spend a single minute doing so. They were a round sponsor at Glenorchy and were supposed to prep and repair the track and again didn't do a single thing, despite (i believe) having the maintenance contract on it at the time and that round almost never went ahead as it was unsafe. We later met with the club and the GCC about the issue and did a walk over with their parks/rec staff who were surprised at it's condition considering what they were spending.

They subsequently lost the contract and were very vocal in blaming (complaints from) local riders for it. Ironically they were reappointed again later on and ran an excavator down the XC descent again removing years of work done by volunteer trail builders. Again this resulted in the local maintenance crew pulling the pin on the club and moving into their own private enterprise and refusing to work again with the Dirt Devils/Dirt Art.

Funnily enough Luke Chiu? became/was the Glenorchy recreation officer at the time of their reappointement (or similar position) and after a few years of collarboration he left GCC to work with Dirt Art. Nepotism anyone? After that Glenorchy Bike Park has steadily fallen into disrepair with no maintenance or additonal trail, instead relying on traffic from North South riders. Glenorchy is a typically bungling council though full of corruption and incompetence so much of the blame probably falls on them.

So, so many good volunteer trail builders and advocates became disenheartened during those years and quit out of frustration and we instead saw a plethora of black market trail building. Trails began springing up all over the back of the Meehan range, S57 got way out of control and SOHO begain looking like a rabbit warren to name a few. Council and private land owners were forced to crack down putting the cause years behind all whilst sanctioned areas were being neglected. I can only imagine how much new trail could have been built in the time taken to bulldoze and reform other peoples hard work.

The benefit form this initially illegal work was a huge trail network through Parks and Wildlife land on the Meehan range and into Clarence with their council seeming to have the most open mind to Mountain Biking. Through some fantastic advocacy PWS have sanctioned and allowed the trails and work to remain in place and now provides the biggest riding space in Greater Hobart.

But guess who has popped their head up again now everything is built. Yep, Dirt Art with their plan to open a Maydena style Bike Park. Whilst I eagerly anticipate the opportunity to partake in shuttles and use their service. I imagine theres a lot of pissed of people now their thousands of hours of work will service only to allow another to financially profit.

Kingborough council had a crack at building a park at Kingston again paying Dirt Art. The result was a swamp with some walking paths made of imported gravel and a shipping container. I heard through the grapevine that they even paid them for a maintenance package which was never delivered and will never spend a cent on MTB trails again because of the experience. (I think he also got funding for the earlier built dirt jumps at Browns River that got fell to bits and got bulldozed within a year, but I could be wrong).

They also started the work at Clarence Bike Park and were using a lot of volunteer labour to do so, but of course took sole credit for it. The original trails are god awful built into a shale slope and everything good out there was built either by later volunteers and I believe green corp labour but I've covered that.

As discussed he was also the lead on the master plan which again achieved very little other than repairing (again with volunteers) and getting sanctioned a few existing trails. The master plan was supposed to turn the Mountain into a mtb mecca but after 10-12 years and hundreds of thousands of tax payers dollars achieved nothing. Whilst there's blame to be appointed to pretty much everybody involved if you read the plan by Dirt Art it pretty much continously reference "If we" "we would" etc. it's a typical document designed to justify awarding the contract to the author.

I personally believe that a large contributing factor to the lack of trails in Hobart comes down to the interaction with the local councils. They've had nothing but poor experience every time they spend money. Add in the lack of any real advocacy group and a defunct local club and it's no surprise it's taken so long to get anything done.

So as Hobart/Tas riders do we expect everything handed to us on a plate? Well yes and no. The last few years have seen some progression particularly with the SOHO/Cascade land and all involved there needs to be thoroughly applauded and shows what can be done with the right people and attitude.

However the flip side is you look at what we have been given, namely Derby and now Scamander plus Wild Mersey and soon to be the West Coast. Certain forward thinking councils now realise that they can bring millions into their communities by paying good money to quality companies to build trails.

So yes I do think riders should expect trails to be handed to them on a platter. The days are long gone of dozens of people hand cutting trails with mattocks and rakes, which produced mediocre results and short term outcomes. Volunteer labour does not produce quality outcomes despite the best intentions and those types of trails are the ones that need the most maintenance. Eventually the interest drops aways and the trails fall into disrepair and become a liability issue for the land owner.

Mount Wellington is an icon and has always had massive potential to attract tens of millions dollars in tourism money from MTB. Riders travelling to the state enter through Launceston mostly and head straight to the East Coast and will soon divert via the North West and or the West Coast speding their money their.

The sooner the state Goverment and local council realise that a proper investment is needed to reap the rewards and leverage off our other venues the better we will all be. This is not something that a few local riders or a trail building company can ever really achieve as the only thing loud enough to change minds at the correct level is money.
 

rangersac

Likes Dirt
My point is that these projects didn't just happened, there was a lot of hard work in the lead up, and a huge amount of strategic planning. The results are fantastic, but it took a good while to get there. They were also undertaken by small councils desperate to find something to bring money into their regions. Hobart doesn't need that, so if we want it, we need to be vocal about it, and show that there is a large group of people who care enough to see it happen. Providing good feedback on this (really, really good) proposal is a great, easy way to do that, and it will help direct funding over the coming years (as it becomes available).

I think we could spend forever lamenting the bad old days of mountian biking in Tasmania, but we're far better off looking at what's possible in the future.

At the end of the day, councils are headed by elected members, who represent their constituents in the municipality. Big councils represent a lot of different people with different interests, wants and needs. Trail advocacy and lobby groups exist everywhere because they're a tried and true way of getting the views of the public heard by the people who pull the levers. I think that's a valuable thing to keep in mind, and I'd love to see a full blown trail advocacy group happening in Hobart again. I really think we're at a point in time where that organised voice would be very valuable, and would help ensure that funding gets secured and directed into good projects.
I won't take sides on the history of trail building and advocacy in Hobart as I am a mainland blow in who arrived 10 years ago via Scotland and a few other remote outposts. However I support Sekt's vision for the future, as I would say that as a keen mountain biker in Hobart who attempts to assist with further trail recognition and advocacy (mostly through the Coningham network of trails), that we are blessed with both the terrain and variety of tracks that we have in Hobart. Indeed most riders both within Australia and overseas would give their left testicle/ breast (delete as appropriate) to have what we have, given that awesome trails start a whole 10 minutes ride from the CDB. Mt Wellington already has both sanctioned and unsanctioned trails that are amazing and have massive potential. Better linkages and formalization of these trails can only be a good thing.
 

downunderdallas

Likes Dirt
I won't take sides on the history of trail building and advocacy in Hobart as I am a mainland blow in who arrived 10 years ago via Scotland and a few other remote outposts. However I support Sekt's vision for the future, as I would say that as a keen mountain biker in Hobart who attempts to assist with further trail recognition and advocacy (mostly through the Coningham network of trails), that we are blessed with both the terrain and variety of tracks that we have in Hobart. Indeed most riders both within Australia and overseas would give their left testicle/ breast (delete as appropriate) to have what we have, given that awesome trails start a whole 10 minutes ride from the CDB. Mt Wellington already has both sanctioned and unsanctioned trails that are amazing and have massive potential. Better linkages and formalization of these trails can only be a good thing.
I'll take even less of a side as I'm all the way from Perth but will chip in to say yes we ARE thoroughly jealous!

I only rode one day on Mt Wellington and didn't get much opportunity to explore all the trails around Hobart, hopefully next time I'll get more exploring time. I will note though that Maydena was a major factor in me making sure we got to Hobart with my tourist dollars!

PS not so jealous that I didn't respond to the survey thingo saying how as a tourist I loved riding on Mt Wellington and more trails would be more incentive to visit!
 

clockworked

Like an orange
So what should a currently-uninvolved person that wants to help do?
Join a club? Which club? Trail advocacy group? Are there dig days? Where should i start?
 

rangersac

Likes Dirt
So what should a currently-uninvolved person that wants to help do?
Join a club? Which club? Trail advocacy group? Are there dig days? Where should i start?
My advice would be to join a club, which is what I did sometime after I arrived. Now to be fair the club I am involved in is a club in the loosest sense of the word (the founding principle of our club is basically that we are, or were all dads with young kids who needed a night off), however being involved in it means a connection to a vast knowledge of unsanctioned trails in Hobart. Without this connection I have no doubt that I would never have ridden many of the trails I now consider to be regular rides. Feel free to send me a PM if you want further details.
 

downunderdallas

Likes Dirt
I'll take even less of a side as I'm all the way from Perth but will chip in to say yes we ARE thoroughly jealous!

I only rode one day on Mt Wellington and didn't get much opportunity to explore all the trails around Hobart, hopefully next time I'll get more exploring time. I will note though that Maydena was a major factor in me making sure we got to Hobart with my tourist dollars!

PS not so jealous that I didn't respond to the survey thingo saying how as a tourist I loved riding on Mt Wellington and more trails would be more incentive to visit!
Just realised my profile pic is from the ride on Mt Wellington with my boy, he was all smiles there before a crash on the lower slopes
 

pink poodle

Our man in Japan
Fucking juicy!!! I love it. Shame it's too late in the night for carbs or is be popping some corn! Well that and the party is well over.
 

Sekt

Likes Dirt
So what should a currently-uninvolved person that wants to help do?
Join a club? Which club? Trail advocacy group? Are there dig days? Where should i start?
Joining the club (Dirt Devils) and getting involved is a great way to push them in the kind of direction you'd like them to go. They're open about the fact that events are their focus, rather than trail advocacy, and they have a limited number of involved people willing to put in the time. If more members want trail advocacy from them, and are keen to get involved, then they're a great, established group to put their weight behind proposals and feedback. There are other clubs around as well, including Connigham, Shredding Betties and the Meehan Range Trail Groomers of course.

To my knowledge there's not a trail advocacy group in Hobart at the moment. The Hobart Trail Alliance played that role for a while, but unfortunately drifted apart. The Meehand Range Trail Groomers do great work progressing the Meehan area. I think there's a gap there that needs filling and personally I'd love to see the Hobart Trail Alliance make a return as a representative trail advoacy body for riders in the Hobart area.

If you want to get your hands dirty and swing a mattock, then once all this virus stuff clears up, Trackcare meets every third Sunday to build new trail and do maintenance in the Hobart municipality. We've just wrapped up working on the new Missing Link project tracks, including the formalisation of Drops. I think the next few dig days (once they start again) will be working on fixing up Yellow Hippo and getting it into the formal network.

Trackcare is a pretty awesome way to learn some solid trailbuilding skills, but also great for networking and meeting other keen builders. It's a good way to keep involved in the progress of expanding the trail network, 'cause the staff there usually have their ear to the ground.
 

caad9

Likes Dirt
If a little bickering between clubs/volunteers and commercial interests allowed trail centres to pop up in Victoria at the rate they do in Tasmania, I'd sign up today. Probably twice.

A huge network of trails in and around Hobart is the perfect result for Dirt Art/Maydena.
Big contracts on Mt Wellington will help to keep Maydena operating for years to come.
I don't know Simon/Dirt Art nor do I have a dog in this fight, it's just that regardless of how many years of blood, sweat and tears it took to get to this point, the commercial opportunity can't be ignored
 

Stredda

Likes Dirt
So what should a currently-uninvolved person that wants to help do?
Join a club? Which club? Trail advocacy group? Are there dig days? Where should i start?
Depends on the area you are based, but joining a club is a great way to get involved. Even if they don't have much in the way of trail advocacy going on, I'm sure if you put up your hand there will be people there to support you.
My little club, the Cradle Coast Mountain Bike Club, I like to think that we punch above their weight when it comes to trail advocacy. We built the Penguin Mountain Bike Park from scratch with about 8km of trail, one of Tassie's biggest free ride areas, kids pump track, club shed and over the last two years we have been building trail in the Dial Range. The Montgomery Loop is a 6km loop and the new Mt Dial trail will add almost another 10km onto that.
Not bad from a club committee of basically 10 members that make it all happen, and we hold events as too.
 

Sekt

Likes Dirt
Another way to have your voice heard (that I think gets overlooked by riders) is to contact your local elected members, both State and Local. That's how a lot of community groups get stuff done, by finding a champion for their cause in a position of power and influence. If you can get a few councillors on-board with the need for more mountain biking infrastructure, then you've got a push from the top as well.

It's pretty easy to send out a few emails and make your thoughts known. Even if it's just to encourage them to approve the MTB Network Plan when it's put up (and to keep it fresh in their minds when it's raised as a funding requirement!).
 

Stredda

Likes Dirt
Another way to have your voice heard (that I think gets overlooked by riders) is to contact your local elected members, both State and Local. That's how a lot of community groups get stuff done, by finding a champion for their cause in a position of power and influence. If you can get a few councillors on-board with the need for more mountain biking infrastructure, then you've got a push from the top as well.

It's pretty easy to send out a few emails and make your thoughts known. Even if it's just to encourage them to approve the MTB Network Plan when it's put up (and to keep it fresh in their minds when it's raised as a funding requirement!).
Totally agree with you there.
We lobbied the state and federal members for funding for the Dial Range trails and it paid off. Getting council members on side is a big plus and applying for every grant you can. Just remember you need a good build plan in place including costs for most grants.
 

nathanm

Likes Bikes and Dirt
After all this chat I was feeling a little inspired to get back into volunteer trail building and very peeved off that my local MTB park wasn't re-opened with everything else after the relaxing of covid-19 restrictions due to trail damage and maintenance required which they hadn't performed, as the Council closed everything and ceased almost all work during the Zombie Apocaylpse.

So I shot an email to my local (Glenorchy) city council, talking about my concerns over the state of disprepair the Glenorchy Mountain Bike park had fallen into and offering to put together a volunteer team to resurrect the existing trails (many of these I assisted in originally building/maintaining) that are no longer rideable due to their lack of maintenance. Surprisingly I received a phone call the very next day from a gent who was very keen on having a chat.

For a change I'll try and leave out many of my inflammatory and critical comments but the conversation was certainly interesting. The first thing impressed upon me by the officer was GCC doesn't have a lot of money (yep we know that and its their own fault) and they are aware of just how bad a state the MTB park is in but they are in the final stages of a "masterplan" for the park to resurrect it to its former glory of hosting National Championships and being the states premier riding location.

The masterplan (I was told) came about from an approach by the Dirt Devils who are the local mountain bike club, who apparently formulated their own plan and presented it to council. They deemed it unsuitable (and commented about the approach being unsolicited) but decided to work with the club and bring in several new key stakeholders to formulate a new plan with a survey run(although I'm a resident was completely unaware) which received 500 community responses. They are now working through the final steps of the plan before they put it out for public comment in July. The greatest challenge they commented, as it always is, is getting the Wellington park trust on side as they are highly resistant to any change to the mountain, which borders the park.

As part of that conversation the officer discussed that the original plan was restricted by the lack of funding, with the Dirt Devils in response applying for and receiving a community/sporting (unsure) grant that they are intending to use to assist council.

They certainly have grand visions for the area which they see as becoming a "hub" for not only riders, but walkers, community groups and recreational park users and incorporating the adjoining Tolosa park. Unfortunately they don't seem to understand the conflict of this ideology.

The officer got very excited about putting in, as a priority, a skills park area, pump track and a cafe. Pump Tracks somehow have become the new "dirt jumps" and are a Trail builders wet dream, allowing them to put in minimal work for a high "visual and financial" reward. But people don't take international holidays or even drive long distances to ride pump tracks. They/we want good quality trail networks and the council doesn't seem to grasp that.

We also discussed the Greater Hobart Masterplan which they identified as unworkable (shakes head at the decade long waste of time and money) but referenced Hobart City Council's plan for over 40km of trail, though didn't seem to be aware of the funding restrictions and stage 1 delivering only 15% of that at best (as discussed earlier).

In regards to volunteer labour they seemed resistant to the idea and felt it was unsustainable and that they had relied on volunteer labour for a long time which had led to the issues they now face. The officer didn't not seem to be across the history of the park including the volunteers involved, the companies hired to maintain/build and the conflict that lead to all the volunteers quitting.

My take-out from the coversation was that despite the knowledge that the Greater Hobart Masterplan was a failure, they are going to persist with the same process (definition of insanity) and develop their own "masterplan" and are confident it will succeed as they wrote it, with the help of some key stakeholders, in the form of the Dirt Devils and several other local related groups. They certainly have some good people as part of the working group and they may well succeed in some part if they listen to and take the advice of these people.

However it all sounds like a typical council approach and my greatest fear is that history will repeat itself and they will approach the same people who will trot out the same words justifying why they should be paid to resurrect the park. Their resistance against volunteers and persistence with paying contractors will result in getting what they pay for, but their is still hope and I'm keen to see what happens in the next 12-24 months.
 
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