Green light for mountain biking in national park

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Mountain biking in Australian national parks
Mountain biking is growing in popularity. PIC: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service

Bouddi National Park on the NSW Central Coast is the latest to relax its rules on what activities are allowed to take place within its confines.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, the park which is located near Gosford is to welcome rock climbers and abseilers for the first time. A new park management plan also outlines proposals that will see an informal walking path to Half Tide Rocks upgraded and formalised, and the establishment of ‘official’ mountain bike trails.

The plan acknowledges that the growing popularity of mountain biking has led to the construction of a network of illegal tracks throughout Bouddi National Park over recent years, all of them constructed without approval or any environmental assessment.

“Illegal tracks are often poorly located, and their construction can result in erosion and safety issues,” the plan states. “Some tracks are impacting the natural and cultural values in the park.”

Under the plan, new single bike tracks – as well as the modification of sustainable existing tracks – is being considered in consultation with the mountain biking community.

The new tracks will be located in ‘Zone 2’ of the park, west of The Scenic Drive and not permitted in the more coastal and environmentally sensitive Zone 1 areas.

“The impact of bicycles on the environment, resources and users of areas within parks will be monitored and management prescriptions revised as necessary,” the plan states.

The Telegraph reports that tracks not assessed as suitable for continued use by mountain bikes will be closed and rehabilitated.

Under the new management plan, abseiling and rock climbing will also be permitted without consent for groups of less than eight people, with climbers responsible for securing their own anchor points.

However National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) staff will monitor rock bolts and remove any deemed excessive, unsafe or visually obtrusive.

  • Do you think it is a good thing for more activities to be allowed in national parks? Comment below.
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4 Responses to Green light for mountain biking in national park

  1. Unfortunately any “track” in National Parks will be used by Off-road Motorcyclists which would be a danger to any hikers and cyclists alike.
    I also question the technical skill of NPWS to assess the safety of any rock bolt inserted by unknown persons to an unknown depth.
    Whilst i believe the Parks are there for all to enjoy, certain activities are unsuitable/dangerous to be merged with passive use.
    I have extensive experience in Search and Rescue and Fire fighting in National Parks and am very familiar with NPWS staff bulldozing on fire trails to stop illegal trail biking and 4WD activities, which in turn makes use of these trails in emergencies difficult/impossible.
    Trendy and feel-good activity by inexperienced NPWS staff in the past have often resulted in detrimental occurrences, as evidenced in lack of effective fire control.

  2. Mountain bikes are pushbikes, not motor bikes, a big difference.

    • Unfortunately the weekend warrior trail bikes utilise any track or trail regardless of intended use. I am patently aware of the intent of the proposal but I believe the trail bike fringe element will illegally use the tracks – as many already do in bushland areas around Sydney. There are designated trail bike camps under two hours from Sydney but they are too regulated for them.

  3. The side effect of these activities is the added congestion in the campgrounds as I’ve witnessed in the Snowy Mountains after the NPWS created a mountain bike trail along the Thredbo river.

    Now one could argue that it’s great to see people enjoying the great outdoors but the problem is that it attracts a group en mass with a common interest, and the result is that the peace and tranquility is destroyed by their enthusiasm.

    Perhaps if the Parks could dedicate new campgrounds for these activities to allow others to enjoy a peaceful stay in a more relaxed setting.

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