The trails have a chequered history. Those on Kangaroo Gully map were constructed illegally. Those on Norfolk Hero were denied permission by the local Parks Office, so the MTB club applied for funding to build the trails direct to Head Office (under the previous government) and were granted funding by the Minister. So they were built officially. Next week there will be an Enduro event that will use the legal and illegal trails. The event has a permit. All permits are now granted at Head Office. Which goes to show that the MTB community benefits from a build and ask permission later approach. The trails north of Castlemaine were (as far as I know) constructed illegally, but one of the key team members in the build is a staffer at Parks Vic. There are a number of well used illegal trails on the Wildflower Drive map. Have a look at the Strava heat map. If you check the names of some of the users on Strava, you will see that some well connected members of the Bendigo community are involved. Nothing will stop this proliferation. In 20 years time I expect the whole forest around Bendigo will be covered with trails. Meanwhile the MTB community will continue to masquerade as environmentally conscious and committed to building a "sustainable" trail network. Meanwhile, this year the local orienteering club had to negotiate behind the scenes to obtain a permit to run off the tracks at Kooyoora and several other maps.
I think I touched a nerve there invis. Does the generosity extend to MTBO as well. It seems the orienteering community has to stop playing fair and find a way short circuit the system.
We stopped applying for MTBO permits after being told they wouldn't be granted. A permit that allows us to ride on all trails would set a precedent that allowed future formal use of those trails rather than their closure. The local head of Parks that we discussed this with has since moved on post yet another restructure. That was a disappointment. I accepted his argument as pretty logical. His stance was that the proliferation of tracks was the greatest threat to Park values. If you want the tracks to be removed, then don't apply for a permit to use them. But it seems the MTB racing community runs by a different set of rules. Check out the heat map for Wildflower Drive.