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Mountain Biking in Canberra under threat?

By Postalgeek - 6 June 2009 12

With mountain biking gaining a higher profile in Canberra, enthusiasts may not realise how threatened it is.  

If bushfires weren’t bad enough. One of the major drawcards for Canberra MTBing is its diversity, with great trails at Stromlo, Kowen, Majura, and Sparrow.  Three of these four fields are now facing potential development.  I will say now that I cannot provide specific detail for all development so keep that in mind:  

    — Kowen may possibly be affected by a new solar plant;
    — a large part of Majura is looking down the barrel of a new highway; and
    — Sparrow Hill will be affected by the proposed development of the Kings Highway to serve the new Joint Operations Command near Bungendore, possibly wiping out some of the more popular runs such as BobSled.

Make the most of them. Those who know more details are more than welcome to make corrections, amendments, or expand.

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
Mountain Biking in Canberra under threat?
joeyjo 9:21 pm 23 Jun 09

Actual the period for submissions appears to have been extended for an extra couple of weeks.

In the mean time, enjoy this documentary teaser about the MONT24 filmed at Majura in 2007. I guess we will never have another one of those if this goes ahead!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI2Fa_LZ3Nc

joeyjo 6:10 pm 23 Jun 09

Just wanted to let people know that community consultation on the Majura Parkway Proposal is still open for a few days, if you want to comment: http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/topics/your_say/comment/draft_eis

niftydog 11:05 am 09 Jun 09

Detail about the solar plant.

The rough location of the Kowen site (the big bald patch – see the link above for more detail).

Doesn’t seem like a big imposition given the size of the rest of the forest, but to be honest I’m not even sure where most of the trails are – I just ride ’em! Anyone got a trail map?

Special G said :

The majura highway will go over the spot of the current road anyway.

The proposed Parkway alignment only tracks Majura Rd for a short distance at the Federal Hwy end. Around one third (possibly more) of the best of the Majura Pines MTB trails will basically be destroyed. I call that significant. As for blazing new trails – all well and good but the gov. keep encouraging the MTB community to play by the rules and not build illegal trails – then they go and do this!

I’ve heard Sparrow Hill described as some of the best singletrack in the country – and I agree. It attracts riders from all over the country and OS to compete, and the social riders are out there in huge numbers every weekend.

Fire trails can be fun, but they are nothing when compared to singletrack. I heard a great one the other day that might help people gain some insight – I’ll paraphrase: Telling a mountain biker to go ride a fire trail is like telling a hiker to go hike around a playing field.

Stromlo is a great place too, but it is a vastly different riding experience to that of Majura or Sparrow. There seems to be a sentiment of “you’ve got Stromlo now, why do you need Majura” – well, all I can say is you’d have to go and experience the difference for yourself to understand.

ant 9:14 pm 08 Jun 09

Kramer said :

The destruction of both Majura and Sparrow hill could easily be avoided by having a ver slight kink in the road. I don’t know why both roads can’t be upgraded and widened using their current path?

Me too. It’ll cost an absolute fortune, destroy good farm land, trees, and for what? We have these super-dooper cars now that go fast and ride well, so why do all roads suddenly have to be straighter than a railway track? They can iron out any kinks that disturb “drivers” through widening the current roads. Fair dinkum, are they going to close the Clyde and Brown and Kangaroo Valley routes to the coast, because the corners are too sharp?

Postalgeek 8:58 pm 08 Jun 09

#7

Kramer said :

There’s also good potential for hooking up the MTB riders with the Womboin wineries, and other local food producers in that area. Although there are some open grassy areas out at Kowen which may allow for a moderate scale solar plant.

That would be so cool. Who’d need dual suspension after a few winery visits?

Kramer 4:54 pm 07 Jun 09

Yep, have heard about all of these. The ACT Govt must have rocks in their head – they have built an awesome facility out at Stromlo, and now they seem set to destroy a number of key riding locations. This will ruin the chances of promoting the ACT as a destination for a weekend of riding (rather than just a day).

The destruction of both Majura and Sparrow hill could easily be avoided by having a ver slight kink in the road. I don’t know why both roads can’t be upgraded and widened using their current path?

As for Kowen, although the motos have been doing their best to rip up the single track in the forest, there’s still plenty of great riding (which the ACT govt seems to have forgotten about). There’s also good potential for hooking up the MTB riders with the Womboin wineries, and other local food producers in that area. Although there are some open grassy areas out at Kowen which may allow for a moderate scale solar plant.

So ACT Govt pull your finger out, and rethink some of these projects, as you’ll only be hurting yourselves (and the rest of us)!

Postalgeek 11:03 am 07 Jun 09

TP 3000 said :

Why don’t you use some of the fire trails in the Brindabellas? There are some quite steep & windy tracks through there that only ACT Rural Fire Service & Parks ACT members are allowed to drive into. But as along as you aren’t a so & so arsonist you should be fine. Also don’t go getting lost or failing of cliffs, as I don’t really want to go in the mountains in the freezing cold weather to go searching for someone.

Yes, there are plenty of fire trails around Canberra. But any MTBer will say you cannot equate it to single track. For many MTBers, single track is far more enjoyable and technical. What we are talking about are course loops made up of many, many kilometres of handmade single track, berms, bridges, balance beams, obstacles etc. Single track courses can, and have, taken years to develop, requiring hundreds of hours of volunteer work.

captainwhorebags 10:23 am 07 Jun 09

HQ JOC is a rotting disaster now?

Must have missed that edition of the Bungendore Bugle.

TP 3000 10:04 am 07 Jun 09

Why don’t you use some of the fire trails in the Brindabellas? There are some quite steep & windy tracks through there that only ACT Rural Fire Service & Parks ACT members are allowed to drive into. But as along as you aren’t a so & so arsonist you should be fine. Also don’t go getting lost or failing of cliffs, as I don’t really want to go in the mountains in the freezing cold weather to go searching for someone.

Special G 9:03 am 07 Jun 09

The majura highway will go over the spot of the current road anyway. Although widened won’t impact significantly.

Storm in a tea cup. Plenty more trails will get blazed. That’s the thing about Mtnbiking isn’t it.

deye 2:03 am 07 Jun 09

I doubt Kowen will get the solar plant, it’s too close to the flight path for the airport. Would you really want a pilot coming in from the north to accidentally get sun in their eyes while landing ?

ant 11:25 pm 06 Jun 09

Is Sparrow Hill the spot on the way to Bung, that always sees cars on teh side of the king’s hwy? It’s clearly a mountain bike spot.

As for that rumour, I’ve heard it from several impeccable sources, and am amazed that no local media have picked up on it yet… that Defence are planning to build something in the region of 400 Defence housing homes out here. This blows the region’s planning clean out of the water, sky high. It opens cans of worms that haven’t even been hatched yet. It’s frankly disgusting and is evidently Defence tryign to patch up the rolling disaster that HQ JOC is.

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