ACT Greens call for Canberra mountain bike trails to be saved

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ACT Greens call for Canberra mountain bike trails to be saved

Postby Ross » Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:51 am ... zhg4w.html

The ACT government is being urged to stop logging efforts under way in Canberra's forests to protect hundreds of mountain bike trails in the area.

The calls follow a motion lodged in the ACT Assembly by Greens leader Shane Rattenbury, that proposed investigating options of retaining existing trails at both Kowen Forest and Majura Pines.

Mountain bikers are set to lose about 70 per cent of volunteer-built trails at Kowen Forest over five years, with 32 recreational trails already destroyed.

Mr Rattenbury said a mountain biking and cycling tourism strategy should be developed, in order to develop Canberra as a "genuine cycling capital".

"We should be improving and protecting the trails, taking advantage of the fact Canberra already has an excellent reputation as a destination for off-road riding, as well as on-road," he said.

"We could become Australia's mountain biking capital."

The Greens leader is also calling for a study to be carried out to determine the recreational value of mountain biking in the Canberra region.

A similar study conducted in Rotorua in New Zealand found the value of mountain biking in that area was $10.2 million, double the value from hikers in the area, and five times the amount made from timber revenue.

"As yet, the government has not properly assessed the real value of the recreational trails," Mr Rattenbury said.

"They know how much money they will get from logging, but haven't valued the broader recreational value of the trails. I don't think a decision to destroy the trails should be taken without first properly looking at their value."

Convener of the Majura Pines Trail Alliance, Michael Davison, said the recent motion was a "meaningful first step" in order to preserve Canberra's many mountain bike trails.

"There's more to the ACT's forests than just the timber and its commercial value," he said.

"It needs to be recognised that our forests are used for lots of recreational activities, particularly mountain biking."

Mr Davison said many people from interstate were coming to Canberra specifically for the mountain bike trails because they were easier to access than similar trails in Sydney or Melbourne.

Visitor monitoring of Majura Pines over the past two years show there's been 50,000 riders using the trails, with 23 per cent of those coming from interstate.

"The economic value is there, but the important thing is that these trails are accessible for everyone," Mr Davison said.

"We're optimistic and we're seeing developments around the country in other areas where councils and local governments are funding resources into purpose-built areas and that investment is paying off."

Environment and planning directorate deputy director-general Dr Erin Brady said the directorate obtained an agreement with the trail alliance for a harvesting approach at Majura Pines for the next 10 years.

"Forest managers will discuss the preferred options for individual tracks at Majura Pines during the harvest planning to inform operational decisions regarding which tracks could be retained," she said.

Logging efforts at Kowen Forest continue year round.

The next revision of logging schedules are expected to take place sometime this month, with the government expected to consider staggering operations.

"Discussions have been and continue to focus on identifying new areas at Kowen in younger strands of trees and pockets of native vegetation that can be used for mountain bike trails for many years in the future," Dr Brady said.

It's expected progress on the ACT Greens' motion will be reported back to the ACT Assembly in the first sitting week of 2018.

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Re: ACT Greens call for Canberra mountain bike trails to be saved

Postby bychosis » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:02 am

That just shows that the economic impact of an activity is often based on old school trains of thought. Like the idea that trees only have value once they are on their way to the timber mill.
bychosis (bahy-koh-sis): A mental disorder of delusions indicating impaired contact with a reality of no bicycles.

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