You are hereRanger News - May 2008

Ranger News - May 2008

Rob's picture

By Rob - Posted on 11 May 2008

For unknown technical reasons I didn't get this email from the rangers until today, the news below was sent to us on Friday from local NPWS rangers. Apologies for the delay.

What follows is the update quoted in full.

New news – we have installed ‘no MB totems’ at:

  • The Slippery Dip entrance to Deep Creek
  • The Heath Track entrance to Technical Downhill
  • The entrance to the illegal MB track that runs off Bantry Bay Road / Engravings Track (next to Wakehurst Parkway) along the rock ledge

We installed a ‘no MB sign’ at the western end start of the walking track part of Two Creeks Track but it has already been vandalised & removed. A new larger & more substantial sign will be going in soon.

Two Creeks Track illegal removal of barrier Garigal Illegal track - Two Creeks Track - new no bike sign

Also on the Two Creeks Track MB riders have been seen illegally removing the track closure signs & materials that we have placed to close the section of track when there has been a rock fall. Anyone involved in illegally removing such a barrier / obstruction risks a fine of $500.

That section of the track is closed for safety reason as expert advise is that the remaining overhang could come down at any time, especially with all the rain we have had. There is an alternative walking route around the section that must be used.

Also another attempt has been made to vandalise the Mona Vale Rd totem near the BaHi Temple (see below).

Mona Vale Rd MB totem sign vandalism Apr 08 Continuing MB sign valdalism

It is obvious that many riders are still ignoring the current no MB totem signs (see below) & we will be increasing our patrols of those areas & will issue on the spot fines of $300 (Drive vehicle on access-barred road/track/area) to any rider found on the tracks with NO MB signs.

Continuing use of illegal Little Maob MB track

We are very concerned that promotion of “hot laps" such as the Cascades which flies in the face of safe riding & sharing the tracks with other users.

There are also already significant issues with speeding MB riders in the Cascades area & the promotion of racing the Cascades "hot lap” is downright irresponsible.

To average over 15 kph over that distance (I hope the ‘Rob’ is not you) means that the speeds down the hills would have to be downright dangerous & any MB rider caught doing those sort of speeds will be issued with a $300 on the spot fine (Drive vehicle in dangerous or reckless Manner).

If MB rider behaviours do not improve, the MB fraternity risks loosing the chance to have valid influence on future planning for access to National Parks & could even end up being totally excluded from many NP areas, especially if someone is injured or killed by such behaviour.

lance's picture

on you there Rob...

Btw i agree with all the track closures - if there's important erosion or safety issues.. however..

But to slag you off for averaging over 15 kph... seems they are yet to understand how 'efficient' MTBing can be in travelling long distances!!


Carlgroover's picture

I used to run over 15km in under an hour so we better ban runners on footpaths before some gets killed.

Alex's picture

"To average over 15 kph over that distance (I hope the ‘Rob’ is not you) means that the speeds down the hills would have to be downright dangerous & any MB rider caught doing those sort of speeds will be issued with a $300 on the spot fine (Drive vehicle in dangerous or reckless Manner)."

so essentially, riding a bike anymore than 3 times over walking speed is "downright dangerous" having any fun whatsoever is considered reckless and potentially will cause a fatality..

this is my point, there is no working WITH us there is only dictatorship by people who sound like they are 90 years old and have never ridden a bicycle in their lives without training wheels! it is absolutely ridiculous, promoting fast laps is not dangerous by any means, you are on a bicycle with more than enough time to judge distances to passers by/horses/cars obstacles many people have been "killed" by a bicycle riding past on a trail plowing into people? i guarantee none..i mean come on we are not all retarded you know npsw, we are not all out to kill and maim people and wildlife and hell bent on destroying the environment as you seem to paint us all out to be, in fact, as you should have learned by now, most of us are hell bent on being active in improving the environment and are more than happy to put time and and money in to make things better and make the situation work for every one using intelligent planning..its just obsurd.. if people were being carted off to hospital all the time from hooligan mountain bikers causing injury, then you may have an issue to address, but dont assume because someone is riding there bike faster than an asmatic ant with some heavy shopping, that we are going to kill someone riding a BICYCLE through the bush! how about a dedicated no walkers trail for example if your so paranoid? or is it a privelige to ride on the 2.5 legal trails left in the area to ride on? so backwards! there are people that will build them, maintain them, pay for them
of there own free will and passion, that should tell you something about the need to facilitate this issue, i bet everyone on this web site would contribute hard earned dollars and time and energy just to have a couple of trails they can call theirs to ride!
look at the city, look at the danger there, look at the traffic issues, look at the polution, look at moto riders chewing things up, look at something useful, and help us to get some bloody trails to ride on so you can be a catalyst for the movement of a unstoppably growing sport that could build international recognition and tourism for the country as well as putting a mark on the map for being a truly innovative organisation that isnt a rigid do as i say no flexibility attitude..
end rant? im just getting warmed up!

Carlgroover's picture

or lack of them would be more accurate, if fact I seriously think that Australia has close to the worst MTB trails in the world, I show my brother the best we have here and it's not a touch on what's available around Christchurch in NZ, and we've heard about Rotorua, also there are many great trails all over NZ, the trails there are legal so the clubs put in a huge effort to make them fantastic and sustainable. We see on youtube awesome tracks in most developed countries we could only dream about here and yet here we are losing the few trails that were legal. I can only assume that this will cause more illegal tracks to be put in that can't be worked on to make them erosion resistant or much fun. I am also continually surprised at how many sour faced walkers I see on the trails that refuse to reply after you've slowed down, given them a wide berth and said good morning. I can only assume that MTBers must cop a right serving on bushwalking websites. I guess those thousands of mtbers living in Sydney will have to burn up a tank of petrol in their car to get to a spot where they can enjoy their sport.

Stuart M's picture

Reading the above I immediately thought, "How do they fine someone not carrying any identification?", "do they have the power to detain people?"

A quick search of the DECC website found the following

"Who enforces compliance with threatened species legislation?
Threatened species legislation is enforced by DECC officers authorised by the Director General. Authorised DECC officers include, Operations Officers from the Climate Change and Environment Protection Group, Regional Specialist Investigators, Rangers from the Parks and Wildlife Group and the centralised Specialist Investigation Unit. Police officers are also authorised to enforce threatened species legislation.

Authorised officers have extensive legal powers to identify, locate, obtain, or secure evidence relating to suspected offences under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Chapter 7 of the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997also provides these officers with powers of entry, search, seizure, the power to compel persons to answer questions and provide assistance. Under this legislation, authorised officers also have the power to perform an arrest."

No pleading the fifth here

Bernd's picture

John, have a look at this: I will check this one out next March!!! in Austria
and, and, and,
maybe I have to move back?, but the Aussie Trails I have been on are so nice!!

Muffin Man's picture

I don't carry ID. And if I did, I'd be pleading self defense.
Detain me in the bush? Acted in Self Defense.
Take my bike? Acted in Self Defense.
I haven't looked into the legalities of that yet, but I'll still be operating as such regardless.
Are they going to confiscate everyone's bikes? LOL.
Dickheads. Work with Mtber's or you will start something you will never win. It's just a fact. Long term it just won't work out for you people.

Justin's picture

Isn't the speed limit on fire trail 60 km/h for vehicles? It's what it has been every time i've seen a speed sign on fire trails (I seem to recall seeing one once, out Bathurst way), I have never seen one on a fire trail in Garigal. Perhaps the local area is a 50km/h area - a 15km/h average on a fire-trail would mean never exceeding any speed limits that I am aware of.

Matt's picture

You must not ride above 15kph
You must not ride anything of a technical nature
You must not ride a path with overhanging rock in case it sees you, spots you are on a bike and jumps at you
You must assume that the irresponsible majority in fact represents the majority, tar and brush anyone?
You must assume that the worst case scenario will always occur, no matter what the evidence, don't leave the house people, and forget the "fair go"...

Remember, big brother is watching,

Winston Smith.

Justin's picture

Actually, the time 30s slower than 'Rob' is 'Justin', wonder who that is. That guy getting on a bike is endangering the bike, certainly never a danger to others. Unless you are behind him Laughing out loud

I think that statement is ridiculous and unsupported - allegations regarding 'dangerous' riding, only made to make a point about being able to slap fines down.

Going to need a much clearer definition about what is reckless, rather than just riding down a fire trail on a sunny day.

evan's picture

Disappointment in the harshness of the email. However completely understand why tracks are closed due to erosion etc.
Might I also suggest that the rangers come out with us MTBing one day and see what the sport is all about.
After all its because of MTBing I gave up the smokes after 16 years @ a pack a day.
If National Parks are truly "National Parks" how come there is such a variousness in support for MTBing. After all is the goal of sport to get people outside and fit, ohh and enjoy themselves.

GAZZA's picture

i dont normally comment on these issues but we as(mountain bikers) spend a lot of money to keep local shops operating and people in jobs, im not talking a few hundred thousand dollars here, im talking millions throughout just the north of sydney alone, not to mention the tourists who visit and spend money on food, fuel and accommodation just because we have such good mountain bike trails in the area. for the local councils to shut these already used ( and they have been since the begining of time without any problems!) trails down is suicide for local tourism and local trail awareness. i never even knew these places existed before i started mountain biking in the area and since riding around these trails ive become aware of the fragility of the wildlife and had a lot more understanding of what was around me on the northern beaches. mountain bikers are not hoons who rip up local fauna and have no regard to wildlife,were people who respect the environment and like to keep fit and if it means cutting a single trail through some bushland so that a few cyclists can get to know the wildlife and the area they live in a bit more intimately then i dont think thats a bad thing. if these areas were to be developed then i think the mountain bikers would be the first ones to tie themselves to trees to save the wildlife and fauna.
excuse the babble as ive had a few wines but just trying to get my feelings across!

Andy Bloot's picture

Such patronising twaddle as those last 2 paragraphs are in a tone I would expect to hear when a parent is talking to a naughty five year old.
Unfortunately, communication between parties such as this only promotes an 'us and them' attitude.

goatman's picture

NPWS are only interested in one user group and that's walkers.

How many walkers has anyone ever seen at Oxford falls XC/Moab track (or Bantry Bay)??? I have seen one in the last 4 years.

How many moto riders chewing up the tracks? Many. Focus on the 'problem' user group people.

So now what? We all ride the pathetic 6 km of (legal) track at Manly Dam and increase the traffic there by about 300%??? It is already not coping!

Good luck with that.

Daz's picture

Where exactly on the technical downhill track from Ralston Av end does it enter Garigal Park (Heath Trail). I know most of it is outside the park. So can you ride most of it and then carry your bike the last bit into the park to remain "legal"?

goatman's picture

Exactly, 90% of that track is not in the National park and neither are the signs at Oxford falls!

craigs's picture

It's odd that a few walkers have all the power. In the hundreds of Km's I have done around the northern beaches I have rarely seen walkers. Runners more often that walkers but neither would reach a percentage higher than 5%.
So you can be a grumpy pompous walker, ride a steel shoed shitting horse (no offense intended) but you cant MTB?

Riding fast, riding slow, I have never, or been part of a group that endangered walkers or horse riders in any way.
The very occasional younger child looks on awe and I am sure aspires to one day, get out a ride as we do.

We have such wonderful out door areas and yet, we are now being locked out of them with no plan or vision for the future. Hundreds and thousands of bike riders forced onto the sub standard roads, now thats clever aint it? As I said, an OUTRAGE.

I still wonder where the directive is coming from. Someone at NWPS surely didnt get out of bed one day and decide, "Gee MTB is sure popular, cant have them enjoying themselves. Lets close off all the tracks".
If this is only a sharing issue then surely mediation and organisation would allow all groups to access and enjoy? Ah, I see now, administration, time and money....
Well...get back on the couch and get the playstation up and running or perhaps join an MTB chatroom.. Life, be out of it....


Damien's picture

Yes the council the NPWS and other conservation nazis have done a real good con job of course they want to go the road of dealing with upstanding responsible adults such people will do what they are told. So yes go have a chat with them they are nice people just like us who understand that we are going to be upset and they want to work with us nice mountain bike folk to resolve any issues.

These organizations and people dont like mountain bikers and they dont want to manage our use of the trails they want us all out no question about it full stop. They are just getting started they have a plan of attack and a long term strategy to get us all out. They just didnt decide last week hey maybe we should close this trail and maybee that one. You will be lucky if there are any trails left to ride at all. Would they close Manly dam if it were overused and started to cost them to much money and time to maintain you bet they would.

Most mountain bikers live in urban areas we need relatively local trails to ride its a healthy social activity and an olympic sport the powers that be need a smack in the face and a wake up call from an angry mob not a nice chat.

kurt's picture

If MB rider behaviours do not improve, the MB fraternity risks loosing the chance to have valid influence on future planning for access to National Parks & could even end up being totally excluded from many NP areas, especially if someone is injured or killed by such behaviour.

Does this read that they will or already have taken away the chance to influence the future planning

i dont ride the "northern beaches" and by the looks of it i may never get the chance to either
the area of ridable terrain over there seems to be shrinking
is it a valid point of concern that the rangers are showing

and where to next ????
the trails we are riding west at the moment wont handle the overflow from closed trails in the north east.

all the talk that takes part between NobMobbers and Rangers or reps of NWSPS seem to be going no where apart from the dam that is

is it time to go to local Members or higher in local government with a series of questions



P.s im not bagging NWPS for closing the trails or having a go at a nanna that has complained
just airing my thoughts o the subjrct
so please dont take offence

Rob's picture

Well, if you would believe the NP boundaries Google Maps have, it's almost entirely outside the National Park boundary. Sadly they are not marked on Google Earth, but you can see NP boundaries on Google Maps. Look here:

I double checked this by looking up current series topo maps with the Lands NSW SIX viewer and those boundaries would appear accurate. Ie, the technical DH is not inside the National Park.

In fact, by the look of this, the NP boundary is North (below on the hill) the pylon to the right as you come out of the technical trail. Most of the track at that left turn is also outside the boundary, but it is at some point along here it does enter the park. Some point before it reaches the fire trail so technically you would be breaking the law to ride it's entire length.

That said, I wonder who this land is owned/controlled by? Crown land under council control?

k09's picture

It is important to carry some sort of ID in case of accidents

A rider last year was found unconcious on McCarrs Creek Road after coming off & as he had no ID on him it took 2 days for the hospital to obtain his identity & contact relatives.

Hans's picture

Let's all (NPWS + nobmob) learn from the Kiwis re negotiating with all stakeholders....

In the meantime carry your ID in a hidden spot / on your bike / in your seatbag...

See this example from last week's (officially sanctioned) NZ Moonride: Where is his ID?


Happiness is a warm shock.

Daz's picture

I have "emergency" and my home phone number written on the inside of my helmet.

Paul's picture

I thought we had an open and mature working relationship with NPWS – obviously not.

I thought NPWS may “get” Mountain Biking, sadly they have shown their ignorance of the sport by their inane 15kph average comment – they obviously have no idea and promulgate rules and edicts veiled in this ignorance.

If the NPWS is trying to destroy any relationship they have with the Mountain Biking community have are doing a sterling job.

Shame NPWS shame.

Alex's picture

how about a massive scale organised protest, somewhere that will be noticed, im talking HUGE! something that says, f^%$ this, were not going away!

Damien's picture

Thats the spirit I am there.

Nick R's picture

Interesting that it shows that bushwalking is permitted but bikes are not - a sign of the rangers' attitudes given bikes are meant to be allowed in National Parks except on designated walking trails. No such issue on the Ku-ring-gai or Lane Cove National Park websites

How good would it be if we could get a local MTB park like Makara Peak in Wellington NZ or the Wellington Park MTB parks outside Hobart where they promote "Minimal Impact Mountain Biking" and shared use trails - perhaps there is some Crown land on the Northern Beaches that we could find and lobby to get such a park?

Alex's picture

This comment has been moved here.

kurt's picture

we pay taxed we ride mountain bikes and we are being descriminated against


craigs's picture

...we actually provide all the information for NPWS right here to base their assault on the trails..
They probably don't know whats out there...

What do MTBA do btw?
We need a coordinated approach using various media outlets, bike shops, parliamentarians...and so on to spread our plight.
Get the propaganda out there and circulating to build up support and awareness.

goatman's picture

"...we actually provide all the information for NPWS right here to base their assault on the trails..
They probably don't know whats out there..."

Absolutely, I have never seen a ranger on or near any of these trails in 4 years of riding em!!

Flynny's picture

I've been trying to tel people that they monitor such sites.

The attitude shown in the NPWS email and their blind devotion to outdated perceptions of speed and danger in the face of all available evidence is extremely disappointing to say the least

Little-Ditty's picture

I don't think a protest will do that much. A co-ordinated exercise to raise awareness with local council, government departments and parliamentarians is a smarter move. As unhelpful as this ranger's comments are, any move to combat them will simply poison the (at the moment) working relationship that NobMob enjoys with them. I would advise conciliation and moderation rather than going on an attack. But I am one voice amongst many.

I also agree that we as MTB riders, to some extent, do NPWS's job for them. They know much of what happens in our Parks because we ride by and see and report things. We are the ones that are "using" these resources and know whats going on. How is it feasible for a Ranger to get out and see things for themselves? It isn't, they are not resourced for that.

The comment about 15km/h average speed is obviously silly, and probably raised with good intention but factually incorrect. A MTB travelling at speed down an incline can stop within about 30m - plenty of time to recognise an oncoming obstacle and take action. Not in years of riding have I heard of a walker getting mowed down (injured or killed) by a MTB rider. Making a comment that relates to (at best, possibly) 1 instance in many thousands of encounters is simply overkill and a waste of time.

If anything above an average speed of 15km/h is dangerous, than what about the MotoX riders? They blast down fire trails at far faster than 60km/h. More like 100, I'd say. What of them? Why are MTB riders targeted for this line of arguement when MotoX riders are far more likely to kill themselves or someone else if they were to have an accident?

Finally, if you hadn't noticed this already, NPWS are monitoring this website, it's topics and your comments. So please be smart and use this for our own gain rather than pissing everyone off. Have a whinge, that's fine - I love that too. But let's be constructive in the approach.

Cheers to all.

Justin's picture

Everything said below basically summarises to - we need a MTB park with xc, downhill trail networks.

Just to note that there is a minority of MTBers that do cause issues for the rest of us, those that destroy signs and do ride on walker-only trails (those marked as such). Also the ones that take swathes of national park / crown land and turn them into jump parks without permission.

With regard to the 'reckless' comment, I recall being told that a MTber very nearly took themselves out and managed to stop only inches away from the rangers vehicle.

However I do not believe the contributers, users of this site are in the main responsible for any of the root causes of this attitude.

All I am saying is this doesn't come from nowhere. As per the stated aims of this site, to make people aware of responsible riding. For example, everyone has their own personal hot-laps (every MTBer who is into racing or training would be maintaining a log of personal bests). Here, it is open and has guidelines, quoted:

Most Importantly - Safety!

Remember this is just for fun, so don't take it too seriously!

* Slow down for walkers.
* Stop and dismount for horses.
* Respect all other trail users.
* Do not endanger yourself or others trying to beat any times here.

If you aren't in control of your bike, then you probably need a slap on the wrist, if you haven't already broken it.

anke13's picture

...I haven't so far commented on this issue, but reading all the posts I have to agree with Liam. We are not going to achieve any sort of satisfactory outcome if we get aggressive or insult people. At the end of the day we all want the same thing - to use trails in a sustainable way so everyone can enjoy them. The reality is that walkers cause less damage to the environment than MTB riders (and horses), so of course we are the first ones in the firing line. A few people have also commented that we are the largest user group. So stopping us from using trails is the quickest solution.

I think to get an acceptable outcome for all parties it’s imperative that we maintain a friendly relationship with the NPWS and keep working together. With Nicole gone that might not happen overnight, but if we keep trying, it will happen. As for some of the comments – just stand above them and don’t get bogged down in the detail!

lorrie's picture

When will being angry solve the issues at hand???

This is a public forum and the NPWS will read these comments and make their opinion on that.

As an example we really don't want to end up having the mutual antagonism of the road cyclist and car drivers towards each other? It's a slippery slope thats damn hard to stop going down.

Let Rob and Justin continue the diplomatic approaches to fix this issue at hand and anyone else who wants to do this can offer their help. What are some positive ways in which we can promote MTB?

We have got some great arguments for MTB on singletrack in the northern beaches so lets do everything diplomatically possible to get the best results for everyone.

anke13's picture

...well said, Lorrie.

Nick R's picture

will be used by NPWS to enforce average speed limits and that we only ride authorised firetrails!!!

Not so extreme - there are signs that say there are remote cameras in use at the start of the Andersons trail!

Damien's picture

You need both approaches.
They need to know that we are pissed off and going to get angry and fight for access to trails because it means something to us. And we also need the voice of reason to let them know we can work with them to open up and maintain access to trails and that anything else is not an option. At the moment they are closing down trails I don’t see any signs out there pointing the way to places we can ride only ones asking us not to ride.

Alex's picture

i agree damien, i think we have every right to express our anger and frustration on a public forum.
As i said before rob and justin and others are making a fantastic effort to at least try to work with them, even though it seems they have no interest in listening..i on the other hand would be more likely to get angry and fly off the rails if i were to meet any of these people, as
their lack of understanding frustrates me (and many others) beyond the point of a rational discussion. this i why i appreciate to no end people working on the forefront to try to help this problem..
as for whether being angry wont have any benefits because we are being watched and monitored etc., that is just giving unneccasary power to an organisation that seems to want it, we have every right to be pissed off, they are not only not working with mtb'ers to help us get more trails or create an avenue for mtb'ing to be facilitated, they are closing trails down for inadequate reasons, and saying be careful or expect more..
it is simply unacceptable, backwards and small petty thinking..i hope they are reading this, they need to know they are pissing off alot of people, and it wont stand!

Carlgroover's picture

with over 600 cyclists killed on Australian roads since 1991 I think it's extremely important to keep mountain bikers on mountain bikes. Have any bush walkers been killed or even bruised as a result of a mountain biker? Also if 1200 horses went over the Great North Road the other weekend like the Dirkworks100 MTB race I'm sure they would have an impact also it's just that horses just ain't too popular. We need to have areas set aside for MTB to be used and maintained responsibly, not just locked up and the best way is too work with the bureaucrats.

inertia's picture

Unfortunately for us, NPWS don't *NEED* mountain bikers. They don't have to impress us. They don't have to change our opinions of NPWS.

Mountain bikers, however, do need NPWS if we want to ride in NPWS controlled land...

Noel's picture

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