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Government to make Canberra the mountain biking capital with ‘iconic’ trail network

Lachlan Roberts 28 March 2019 60

ACT Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman plans to install an “iconic trail network”. Photos: Supplied.

The ACT Government has revealed plans to make Canberra the mountain biking capital with an ‘iconic’ trail network that will traverse across the city.

ACT Minister for Planning and Land Management Mick Gentleman announced that planning and design work has begun on a new “iconic mountain bike trail network”, as he opened a new pump track out in Majura Pines on Wednesday morning (27 March).

The Government has called on Canberrans to help develop its plans for a territory-wide mountain bike trail, inviting people to send in their ideas for the trail or to attend workshops that will be held in the coming months.

Mr Gentleman said Canberra is home to a strong and growing mountain biking culture and plans to provide a unique diversity of trails that cater for everyone from professional mountain bike riders to first-time riders.

“The trail network will showcase our unique landscapes and improve connectivity between our mountain biking hubs,” Mr Gentleman said.

“This project is a key component of the ACT Government’s Cycle Tourism Strategy that has the ambition to establish Canberra as a cycling destination of choice.

“We’re inviting trail users to have their say in a series of community workshops that will help shape the concept plan and identify priority trails.”

The trail will be suitable for all mountain-bike riders, from beginners to professionals.

The ACT Government said they are currently undertaking stakeholder consultation to gather ideas and develop a draft ACT Mountain Bike Concept Plan, and expects a full public consultation period to be undertaken from August to December this year.

The plan is expected to be finalised early next year before the detailed trail design will start by June 2020 at the latest.

Mr Gentleman said he is interested in hearing from a range of individuals including trail users of all ages and recreation types, competitive cyclists, tourism and cycle businesses, Instagrammers, photographers, artists, cycle tourists and nature lovers.

“We have a strong and growing mountain biking culture in Canberra and are encouraging people to contribute to the further development of our trails network,” Mr Gentleman said.

“Sustainable trail design is a key objective of the project and we will consider the fragility of local ecosystems and the value of parks and reserves to all users.

To have your say and learn more about the ‘best of Canberra mountain bike experience’ project, click here.

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60 Responses to Government to make Canberra the mountain biking capital with ‘iconic’ trail network
Jane Lloyd Jane Lloyd 9:48 pm 28 Mar 19

Thomas and Jodie - you have to visit now!!

    Jodie Walters Jodie Walters 5:01 am 29 Mar 19

    Jane Lloyd would love to see your smiling face anytime 😘🤗☺️xxxx

Kris Johnston Kris Johnston 9:36 pm 28 Mar 19

Great idea. Excited to hear the feedback

    Rohan Peek Rohan Peek 6:54 am 29 Mar 19

    Kris Johnston haha as if they will listen... we all know what public consultation is like in this town.. "here is our idea, what do you think?oh you don't like it? Too bad that's what we are doing anyways"

    Rohan Peek Rohan Peek 6:54 am 29 Mar 19

    I wonder if geocon will get the job to build it 😂

Sarah Powles Sarah Powles 9:11 pm 28 Mar 19

More ACT money thrown at bike enthusiasts

    Greg Peterson Greg Peterson 9:56 pm 28 Mar 19

    Sarah Powles it'll bring a good return.

    Dee Sis Dee Sis 7:42 am 29 Mar 19

    Sarah Powles have a look at how it has turned life around for aces like Derby in Tasmania. It brings tourism. 🤘

    Stuart Anderson Stuart Anderson 9:14 pm 29 Mar 19

    Dee Sis too true however if this plan does not factor in some manner of strong focus toward gravity or gravity XC riding similar to derby/ blue tier then people won’t come. We already have some excellent mtb venues and the already amazing centenary trail ringing Canberra. Putting another XC traverse across Canberra seems like duplication and will benefit those of us who live here rather than those who might travel here to ride. That said it is great to see investment and thought being done!

Emily Nguyen Emily Nguyen 7:55 pm 28 Mar 19

Lap Nguyen this would be awesome! 😎

Bob Rycroft Bob Rycroft 7:40 pm 28 Mar 19

Stand up for your rights good for one good for all

Leon Kotzur Leon Kotzur 6:58 pm 28 Mar 19

Nick Hepple when can you ride?

    Nick Hepple Nick Hepple 7:07 pm 28 Mar 19

    Leon Kotzur when can you get a hold of a bike?

    Nick Hepple Nick Hepple 7:08 pm 28 Mar 19

    I can ride now, have been out a couple of time to test it out, felt good

    Leon Kotzur Leon Kotzur 7:15 pm 28 Mar 19

    Nick Hepple brillant. No idea. I’ll try find a good one as aren’t any good ones out home!

Anna Gurnhill Anna Gurnhill 5:47 pm 28 Mar 19

Charles Anthony Christo others.....

"expects a full public consultation period to be undertaken from August to December this year.

The plan is expected to be finalised early next year before the detailed trail design will start by June 2020 at the latest.

Mr Gentleman said he is interested in hearing from a range of individuals including trail users of all ages and recreation types, competitive cyclists, tourism and cycle businesses, Instagrammers, photographers, artists, cycle tourists and nature lovers."

You can participate in one or more of the following ways:

Send your ideas for an iconic Canberra mountain bike trail network to us.

Request an invite to attend one of several stakeholder workshops happening in 2019 to develop the draft concepts.

To contact our team, email

Thanks Jasmine!!

Eric Kordt Eric Kordt 5:21 pm 28 Mar 19

Erik your chance to make Canberra’s bike tracks awesome as well

Reuben Viles Reuben Viles 5:02 pm 28 Mar 19

With the amount of money that has been spent at Stromlo and Majura, Canberra SHOULD already have this. Both of those places are pretty average at best by comparison to riding destinations that mountain bikers love. Canberra had it's chance 10 years ago and squandered it...

    Andrew Remely Andrew Remely 5:17 pm 28 Mar 19

    The problem is the way Stromlo is managed. There is no board and direct involvement from the MTB community. So have flimflam.

    Reuben Viles Reuben Viles 5:27 pm 28 Mar 19

    Andrew Remely yeah fair call. I travel to canberra for work once a month for about a week and always bring my bike. I'm now of the opinion that stromlo sucks. No maintenance of trails, poor directional flow at most trail junctions. Complete lack of trail maps once you leave the car park. Most people ride the same loop, if you try and deviate from that you end up riding fire road to link back to anything. Don't even get me started on the state of Vapour Trail! My local trails are illegal yet are maintained by many people and are in great shape. Nobody in canberra thinks to donate their own time because what you have has been given to you, not hard earned.

    Alan Vogt Alan Vogt 7:07 pm 28 Mar 19

    Reuben, I think you'll find the amount invested at Stromlo was not all that large and the spend on Majura was tiny in contrast to what is invested elsewhere. I actually think they got a great result for the amount spent at Majura, though I agree that Stromlo is below par compared to destinations elsewhere in Australia and overseas. Stromlo and Majura represent a small part of what we have and of what we could have across the ACT.

    Glenn Columbine Glenn Columbine 11:08 am 29 Mar 19

    Stromlo isn't going to suit everyone and its function is to fill a place within the ecosystem of trails in the region. Not to be all things to all people all the time. Personally I think it holds up pretty well maintenance wise considering the amount of use it gets. Volunteers could not keep it going anymore.

    Head out to Kowen, Sparrow, Tuggeranong Pines, Bruce Ridge and until recently Majura pines which were all built and maintained by locals VOLUNTARILY before you make uninformed claims such as "Nobody in Canberra thinks to donate their own time because what you have has been given to you, not hard earned.". Canberra locals have built and maintained literally hundreds of kilometers of single tack in the region for a very long time.

Sarah Isabella Sarah Isabella 5:01 pm 28 Mar 19

Erica Francesca your wee student would be so excited?

    Erica Francesca Erica Francesca 5:44 pm 28 Mar 19

    Sarah Isabella yes he would! I will show him. I think that's awesome.

Terry West Terry West 4:51 pm 28 Mar 19

Great idea and good for Canberra , now how about a dedicated motor bike venue

Grant Tobias Grant Tobias 4:50 pm 28 Mar 19

Relax plastic hat policy

John Brinsmead John Brinsmead 4:46 pm 28 Mar 19

sounds like a great oportunity to build canberra tourism

Amy Yates Amy Yates 4:40 pm 28 Mar 19

Sarika surely Andy could get onto planning this for a job?!

Emma Hallam Emma Hallam 4:22 pm 28 Mar 19

Ben Deacon they could give Australia’s number one women’s sporting team some of that cash to keep them in the ACT

Jen Windsor Jen Windsor 4:21 pm 28 Mar 19

Dawn when the collar bone heals maybe you could drop down under 🙂

Margreet Philp Margreet Philp 4:05 pm 28 Mar 19

Matthew Kelly reasons to come to Canberra, besides us 😉

Chris Polglase Chris Polglase 3:52 pm 28 Mar 19

Daniel Bishop sounds like news you may like.

Adeline Gibson Adeline Gibson 3:47 pm 28 Mar 19

Hopefully this wont come at the expense of other recreational uses of our trails by people like horse riders, walkers and runners

    Andrew Remely Andrew Remely 5:20 pm 28 Mar 19

    The reason the mtb trail get resources is the riding community put in a massive amount volunteer time. I put in plenty building Stromlo. Never saw any horse riders helping out.

    If the horse riders want more trails then you’ve got get off you ***^ and organise it.

    Adeline Gibson Adeline Gibson 5:22 pm 28 Mar 19

    Andrew Remely I am a key organsier of Scenic City, an annual horse riding event run from Stromlo forest, and we routinely work with SFP managwment on horse trails. As well as SC I ride and volunteer at many different local events around the ACT. I think you are a little misinformed 😐.

    Alan Vogt Alan Vogt 6:18 pm 28 Mar 19

    I doubt it very much Adeline. I believe the Canberra region has more than enough land to comfortably accommodate all recreation users peacefully.

    My friends and I have been building mtb trails in the Canberra region in a volunteer capacity for over 20 years. We haven't been given resources or funding to build trails – we've funded that ourselves (and on occasion with donation from individuals, event organisers and businesses who support our work). Over that time we've built a great deal of trail and helped elevate the profile of the region as a riding destination. We've worked with the land manager over many years, earned their trust and acceptance and enjoy access to land to build trail and that is greatly appreciated. Our activities haven't displaced other user groups, in fact the trails we've built are regularly used by runners and orienteers and the surrounding roads continue to be used for car rally, motorcycle events, horse riders, dog sledding and the like, including for livestock agistment.

    Unfortunately, in recent years we've also lost a great deal trail through harvesting which has diminished the ACT's reputation as a riding destination and has affected the viability of major events. Redressing trail loss of this scale is important and hasn't been been helped by ongoing low levels of funding for trail development. In contrast, many locations/regions across Australia are benefitting from major funding injections and are leading the way for attracting trail based recreation and the great tourism opportunities that flow from it.

    It is our hope through this process of consultation and planning that the ACT Government will see the importance and urgency of investing significantly in trail development and new networks and elevate Canberra to the top-tier of destinations for mountain biking. Actions like this will attract events and create new business opportunities and – importantly for locals – make Canberra a more desirable place to live.

    Andrew Remely Andrew Remely 7:33 pm 28 Mar 19

    Alan Vogt great post.

    You’ve done so much for trails in the region.

    Malcolm Bennett Malcolm Bennett 8:36 am 29 Mar 19

    Well said Alan. I wish you were running this venture for us.

    Adeline Gibson Adeline Gibson 8:48 am 29 Mar 19

    Exactly Victoria Edmonds 🙂 Just trying to point out that the ideal outcome is for all users to retain access for various uses.

    Jim Trail Jim Trail 11:26 am 29 Mar 19

    Hear hear. Well said, Alan.

Brett Rycroft Brett Rycroft 3:44 pm 28 Mar 19

What about dirt bike complex.

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