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Discussion: Tracks

in: TheInvisibleLog; TheInvisibleLog > 2017-03-22

Mar 22, 2017 3:39 AM # 
Hawk 3Peat:
Starting to happen more and more in the Creswick forest. Found 3 new tracks in the last 2 weeks. Asked one of our very talented MTB riders, who now owns a bike shop, about them. His attitude is they are doing no damage and that they are more likely to get permission for a track if it already exists. If they ask for permission they get refused so build it first then ask.
Mar 22, 2017 4:13 AM # 
Most orienteers wouldn't use those wriggly singletracks anyway, so it wouldn't affect us.
Mar 22, 2017 4:25 AM # 
Well, you can navigate by them, but that's a secondary issue. I am tempted to remove single track from that map. The real gripe for orienteering is we are now being pressured to stay on tracks because we apply for permits. But the comments of Roch above underlie the MTB strategy, build and than ask later. I further dispute that they do no damage. When the ones on steeper hillsides are found by trail bike riders, who also operate on the principle that is already there, well, I can take you on a tour of such "undamaged" areas. Its time to challenge the MTB self-belief in their own environmental credentials.
Finally, its worth noting that Parks Vic in the Bendigo region is starting to resist attempts to retrospective;y normalise such tracks. More power to their arm I say.
Mar 22, 2017 9:26 AM # 
I'm sorry to hear about the situation. Around here orienteering has good relations with the formal MTB organisations, we use "their" areas and they use our maps. The pioneering MTB park is a model of community effort, taking a steep area which had been cleared by european farmer settlers; abandoned; reverted to impenetrable exotic scrub; mountain-biking planned in conjunction with the city council; consultations held with park specialists, safety consultants, ecologists and indigenous leaders; constructed with volunteer labour; regularly maintained; extensive native planting; and pest control. The council provides carparking and toilets. Other councils see the benefits of the recreation and tourism and are following suit.

There are groups which eschew the formal consultation/design process (and it must be a ***ing pain). There is no love lost between the established and informal track-makers. Just as there are many anti-bikers in the walking and running communities. The "guerrilla" track-builders and riders will get stamped on, they are so stupid that they publish where they have been on Strava.

I guess every jurisdiction is different in terms of the amount of land available for recreation and its traditional uses. A current perspective is that the real vandals were European settlers 150 years ago.
Mar 22, 2017 9:51 AM # 
Yep. But its mostly cowboys round here. One fool has published on Strava a track through a Reference Area. Thats a designated conservation area with no human intervention allowed. Many publish track riding within the "National Park".
Mar 22, 2017 10:47 PM # 
In Canberra, Bruce Ridge is covered with MTB tracks (I'm not sure the extent to which this had official sanction, prospective or retrospective), but not really any of the other eucalypt areas. Maybe the lesson here is that if an area's defined where track construction is allowed (or at least tolerated), people are less likely to do it unofficially in other places.
Mar 22, 2017 11:23 PM # 
I doubt this would work without enforcement. Riders want tracks in their closest forests. Supposedly we have an official MTB area on the Norfolk Hero map. The quid pro quo was the cessation of informal track useage. It worked for a while in the Norfolk Hero area. Then the tracks started growing again.
Mar 23, 2017 6:49 AM # 
His attitude is they are doing no damage and that they are more likely to get permission for a track if it already exists. If they ask for permission they get refused so build it first then ask.

Bloody mountain bikers, and here in WA we complain about the trail bike riders making their own tracks through areas we have to ask for permission to use. Incidentally the above doesn't work here. We've had trails closed that were built without permission, probably on the premise that if the parks department approves it post the fact, people will keep building unauthorised trails (of course closing a trail means sticking a bit of tape across it and that's really hard to ride around although others have been 'officially' decommissioned by tearing them up and letting nature take hold once more).

Having said that, I'm about to update one of our MTBO areas that we're not even allowed into during winter for new trails that have been built since we last used it (about three years ago) and I'd almost guarantee that no permission was sought for their construction.
Mar 23, 2017 10:26 AM # 
Its a conundrum.
Mar 23, 2017 2:04 PM # 
Maybe we should campaign to Parks Victoria as concerned citizens.

This discussion thread is closed.