It’s been a big week for us here at MCC of NSW. It started with a meeting of the Elders of Mingaan Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation to establish some background information relating to our trails. In a nutshell it doesn’t appear that there are any issues relating to where our trails go and any cultural heritage sites but it does need investigation and it’s something we will be pursuing as part of our process to ensure access for riders in the new State Conservation Area. Bear in mind that it may be that if any of our trails impinge on these areas we will have to move or close those trails. It is a sign of the respect that we want to show if we want to earn the same in response.
Next was the NPWS management team who have overriding authority over the Newnes plateau and Ben Bullen SF among other areas. The good news is that as long as you are licenced and riding a registered bike the status quo remains for the next 5 or 6 months. If your bike is unregistered and you are unlicenced our advice is to stay very far away. There will be compliance checks in operation and anyone caught will, hopefully, just be warned initially to get the word out but it is possible they could be fined.
As it stands there is no facility within the current NPWS stucture that permits motorised bikes (that means us) to access single track trails as we know them. The 4×4’s will have dedicated trails and we are welcome to ride those (watch out for the bullbars!) but single track is off limits. We have stated that will not work for us.
There is a draft proposal for MTB single track trails but they are mapped and monitored and have a management plan. The facts are unless we can provide a similar plan that meets all the criteria required by NPWS there will be no further access to single track in NPWS controlled forests. If, and it is a BIG “IF” we can develop a plan (yes we are working flat out on it now) and be able to present it to NPWS as a part of their overall management plan, AND they approve it then yes, we might be able to continue to ride. BUT, once this next 5 or 6 months pass we will no longer have free reign over our trails. Access to the forests will be controlled and we will be limited to approved trails.
Part of this process is for us to provide a map of our trails to NPWS who will then assess them for manageability (this will be done with our input so it is not totally one-sided) and that covers environmental impacts, maintenance, location, sustainability, etc. As part of our contribution we will need to provide a methodology of how we can be a part of that ongoing trail management – this is where you put your hands up! We have been quite forceful about the need for them to compromise but they are limited to the current conditions of operation within the beauracracy – it is our job to change that.
The future…. Whatever we achieve, or fail to achieve here, will effect all future areas that NPWS has under its authority.
MCC of NSW Trailriders Committee.