The following article by David Fitzsimons appeared in the Central Western Daily on 9 September 2019.
A major mountain bike track proposal for Mount Canobolas has been approved for further planning in the mountain’s new plan of management, released by the state government on Monday.
The plan also calls for all facilities at the summit of the mountain to be redeveloped to improve traffic flow and parking, improve toilet facilities, provide lookout platforms and better interpretive materials.
It said all facilities would be wheelchair accessible.
New signs would be installed at the summit and other visitor spots on the mountain, walking tracks will be upgraded and cycling and horse riding allowed on park roads and designated trails.
The Tea House Day Use area has been described as being poorly-drained and little used and the plan calls for it to be closed and re-vegetated unless it can be incorporated into the mountain biking proposal.
The proposal for 63 kilometres of mountain bike trails across much of the mountain except for environmentally sensitive areas has been supported.
That includes the development of a hub, at or near the Tea House Day Use Area to provide facilities including a cafe, toilets and services such as bike hire, transport shuttles and information for mountain visitors.
“Mountain bike riding is an increasingly popular recreational activity and further opportunities for mountain bike riding and associated facilities in the park may be provided if deemed appropriate,” the report said.
Environment Minister Matt Kean said the plan balanced the ecology of Mount Canobolas with demands for visitor experiences.
“One of my first visits when I became minister was to Mount Canobolas to hear first hand about the park and the mountain bike proposal.
“I am pleased to be able to release the new plan of management, enabling the proponents of the mountain bike track led by Orange City Council to consider how their proposal might be developed in the new legal framework.
“Any proposed development of the site would be subject to rigorous environmental assessment.”
Mr Kean said redeveloping facilities at the top of the mountain would “improve visitor experience and safety.”