Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area (SCA) is under threat from a new mountain biking track network proposal by Orange City Council. Following Council lobbying and a fierce campaign from opponents, the NSW government approved the addition of dedicated mountain biking tracks as an allowed development in the revised Draft Plan of Management. The new proposal is just as damaging as the earlier one and would lead to long term degradation of key natural and cultural heritage values of the SCA, which is a small reserve set aside for the common good and the protection of biodiversity, not commercially motivated intensive recreation.
Orange City Council [the Proponents of Mountain Biking] see the iconic Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area through dollar-tinted glasses – just another piece of real estate that is ripe for development.
Over the decades the city heads have plotted chairlifts, ski runs, restaurants and other entrepreneurial dreams. The latest scheme for mountain biking is equally as incompatible with nature conservation, but has the influence of the NSW Minister for the Environment. Following revision of the Plan of Management for the Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area, Orange City Council allocated $500,000 of ratepayer’s money in 2020 to develop a revised proposal for a large scale mountain biking centre in the conservation reserve. They engaged consultants in mountain bike track design (Dirt Art), environmental assessment (The Environmental Factor) and aboriginal heritage (Apex Archeology) to conduct a constraints study, design the track network and conduct the environmental and archeological impact assessment studies. This has resulted in a new proposal including over 20 tracks and circuits criss-crossing most of the reserve.
This proposal is now being submitted to the government for approval as a State Significant Development.
72 km of new purpose-built EXCLUSIVE mountain biking tracks into this indescribably precious and small conservation environment
The concept expects to carve some 72 km of new purpose-built EXCLUSIVE mountain biking tracks into this indescribably precious and small conservation environment. It also expects to attract around 50,000 visitors annually whose trampling would further impact destructively on the last remnant.
The Canobolas Conservation Alliance opposes this development because it is totally inappropriate in a conservation reserve, is of such a scale that significant damage to the reserve is inevitable and because approval of this development would set an incredibly dangerous precedent for conservation reserves everywhere.