Opponents of mountain bike trails in Mt Canobolas SCA, say the opening of new ride tracks in State Forests shows that the SCA’s unique sub-alpine area can be spared the same fate.
‘The new bike track at Glenwood State Forest shows what we’ve been saying all along, we’re not against a mountain bike park, it just needs to be in the right location,” Canobolas Conservation Alliance (CCA) President, Dr Andrew Rawson said.
He said that Orange Mountain Bike Club’s new “Trail of Awesomeness” in Glenwood State Forest, shows what can be achieved without the need to enter the Mt Canobolas State Conservation Area (SCA).
Dr Rawson said that the new track completes a circuit in the forest running from near Federal Falls in the SCA to Lidster in a 20km loop that is actually on the western slopes of Mt Canobolas.
He added that the new circuit should be the model for mountain bike trails that take in State Forest areas of Mt Canobolas without touching the SCA.
“The forests run for over 10,000 hectares over the back of the Mountain, build the tracks there, and not in the Conservation Area,” he said.
Dr Rawson added that the construction of mountain bike tracks on Mt Canobolas will, whatever safeguards are put in place, prove a hugely-disruptive ecological challenge to the Mount, increasing run-off and erosion issues as well as spreading pest species.
“State Forests are the best places for this type of trail. They are already heavily disturbed by forestry activities and, by placing this trail in a recently harvested location, it ensures it’ll have at least 15-30 years of operation.
“OCC’s claims that the State Forests were not available for their tracks are clearly false. Both the Forestry Corporation and the Mountain Bike Club see otherwise. The Club has persevered, obtained funding, and been able to construct trails which appear to meet all their needs.”
Aboriginal cultural artefacts would also be permanently disturbed or removed by any trails in the SCA, he added.
“At a time when the nation is finally recognising Indigenous heritage, why would anyone wish to harm direct evidence of it?” Dr Rawson asked.
Edited report which originally appeared in Orange City Life, 9-11 June 2022