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Anybody read this today in the Manly Daily? 12-6-09

pikey's picture

By pikey - Posted on 12 June 2009

An interesting reply to last weeks piece on mountain bike riding in National Parks from the North Regional Manager of NPWS. It is in response to this story:

The above is also on the web here:

jeremya's picture

"Actively encourages" seems a bit of an overstatement in this article as far as this area is concerned. A couple of mountain bikes permitted signs seems to be the limit on the Northern beaches MTB encouragement

Rob's picture

I'll give Chris this - he is a consummate politician. We have spoken once on this matter, many months ago and at the time I noticed how well chosen his words were and how he was very careful not to give anything away. Same again in the above letter - bravo.

It's just a shame that NPWS seem to want to butt heads with the mountain bike fraternity rather than work with us. Chris, if you're reading this - life would be a whole lot easier for all concerned if we all just work together.

For the record, let's look at what the above says:

- Over 100km of firetrail in the Northern Beaches. Yup, can't argue with that.

- Offer a range of opportunities for riders. LOL, no way! They are all out and back and a firetrail is... erm... a firetrail. If you're not a complete beginner there are no challenges or noticeable differences in them.

- NPWS actively encourage riding? Sorry, but as has been pointed out - this is complete rubbish.

- Cycling is not permitted on single track because they are dangerous? Again, complete rubbish. If that were true how could Manly Warringah council ever run the Dam? Oh, because of steps, right? So are you saying any single track without steps is OK then? Thin ice here Eye-wink

- Many tracks have developed over the years, etc. This is true, and one of the points we raise is why was it only last April that these became a concern for NPWS?

- Unauthorised tracks suffer damage as not designed correctly. Yes and no. I notice Chris doesn't actually think it's the MTB riders causing this 'damage' which is interesting. That aside, if trails are authorised then they could be properly maintained and designed and this problem would not occur. If NPWS actively encouraged cycling as they claim to they would work to design and maintain trails and prevent problems before they start.

- Banty Bay Aboriginal Site? If NPWS want people to stay away from this (not just riders) they should fence it on all sides and erect proper signs drawing people's attention to it's cultural value. Closing all trails for hundreds of metres in every direction and using a single small area as an excuse is hardly productive is it and hardly likely to solve the problem.

- NPWS have been speaking to lead MTB groups? It's true we talk, yes Smiling OK - seriously, yes I know they have been present at meetings with HSMBA too. I note the identification of trails don't actually specify that these will be single track. Will they?

As I said, very nice politics, but who do you think you're kidding?

LadyToast's picture


I wonder if your response should also warrant an email to the Manly Daily for those that don't read this site.

Noel's picture

A thing I notice with the message NPWS send out:

Signs at the start of some trails say "No Bicycles" when in fact they should say "No RIDING Bicycles". I think the "No Bicycles" sign sends the wrong message to the lay person. We are allowed to carry OR walk bicycles on single track. NPWS should be communicating that by wording their signs more carefully.

Fankles's picture

" Banty Bay Aboriginal Site? If NPWS want people to stay away from this (not just riders) they should fence it on all sides and erect proper signs drawing people's attention to it's cultural value. Closing all trails for hundreds of metres in every direction and using a single small area as an excuse is hardly productive is it and hardly likely to solve the problem."

It's pretty funny how things work some days, or don't more to the point.
The track on the Bantry Bay side is NEXT to the aboriginal carvings and Does Not traverse them in any way by my understanding. One would have to go well out of the way to do so.
Given that mountain bike riders/cyclists are typically rather environmentally conscious types that typically respect these natural surrounds I really think we as a user group should be of little concern.
I'd go as far as saying that we would be among the 1st to Arc up if somebody was to deface/damage such areas.

Something of interest..... The gate at the end of Bantry Bay rd has been recently moved say 100/150metres closer to the carvings. Why you ask? Well a development proposal got passed (again I'm not 100% but pretty sure) for 64 town houses to go on this site. That would put 64 town houses on the doorstep of the carvings. Sounds sweet doesn't it! NOT! Erosion concerns? My arse .... Bulldozer concerns more like it...
Furthermore this looks likely to take place right over this great existing trail that has some stunning lookouts over the city which could be used as a tourist draw heaven help its use be continued and managed in the future to attract people to the area.

So in a few years time the carving's are more likely to be home to be the home of little Johnny and his mates sitting around a bonfire right on top of poor skippy while he smashes cans and smokes his bong on an old couch ... Considering little Johnny's new proximity!

Sorry for the pessimistic outlook but it's more than likely...

So we can bulldoze this resource but not ride a bike around it?

Go figure?

Big raps to Robin and few others for their fine work re the submission.
Manly MP Mike Baird, thank you for sticking your neck out for our plight. Finally somebody I know represents my interests at the next election, I shan't be forgetting that in a hurry.

arghvee's picture

Seems the ranger was out booking riders in Terrey Hills on Sunday. 2 riders I met who were on a 'walkers only' wide fire trail were told:
- riding damages the trail
- there are aboriginal carvings about
- there are endangered species about

This is from a ranger that was barrelling downn the same trail - making more damage, likely to kill skippy, and erase 40,000 years of carvings.

I am so annoyed about the attitude, poor signage, and lack of mtb support. After just coming back from Rotorua, where mtb is embraced and contributes to the nz economy, nsw and northern beaches is an absolute disgrace.

Rob, you raise great points, but I am keen to help take action. I'll PM.

jedijunglesnow's picture

There was a ranger hanging out at Bantry Bay on Sunday too. We spent about 10 minutes listening to him going on about all the issues you just raised,as well as telling us about all the people he'd been busting all over the place.

Reckon's Rob and Mike Baird have done themselves ( and MTBs) no favours at all by speaking out without consulting NPWS - he wasn't happy!

He was saying how NPWS are trying to get better access for MTBs but it's a long process which may take a couple of years, and we had to be patient.

Funnily enough when we were talking to him two more guys showed up expecting to ride the Bantry Bay trail and he stopped them.

The ranger said MTBing had just got so popular recently which is why they now have to close the tarils.

Do NPWS seriously think mtbing will not continue to grow? Do they think that the sport will take a 2 year break whilst they sort themsleves out?

At the same time there was some tool with about 50 kids trampling all over the Aboriginal carvings in the fenced off area. Maybe he didn't see them but the ranger did nothing about them.

Then he mentioned other local trails. He said they get walkers complaining about mtbs on the walking track out of Deep Creek. he said they have to then explain to the walkers that this in a illegal trail for walkers as well!

NPWS just seem intent on keeping all of us out of National Parks. EVERYONE.

Colt's picture

I'm curious what effect he thinks speaking to NPWS would have on Rob's or Mike Bairds comments? Would they have said the usual "it's a long process and everyone has to be patient." What a load of rubbish.... it takes but a couple of months to get rules changed or laws passed... all it takes is someone who is in a position to do so to get up off their rear ends and actually get it done! It's amazing how fast they can move when ONE kid gets hit by a car on a crossing outside their school, yet thousands of MTB's are told they have to be patient and wait. Maybe we just need more media coverage... anyone want to volunteer to get hit by a rangers ute? Sticking out tongue

Let's face it.... the NPWS only really love those people who pay for their vehicle admission passes and never go anywhere except the popular locations and campgrounds. You want to go anywhere else and it seems your just a pain in the proverbial to them.


Rob's picture

Thought you may like to know that in the spirit of the, "life would be a whole lot easier for all concerned if we all just work together" message stated above I spoke to Chris for some time today.

Although some old arguments are there we had a constructive chat and I feel maybe a small bit of progress. Of course, some things we discussed are all pie in the sky until they are documented in legislation, or more better yet, dug into the dirt, but baby steps and all that.

Fankles's picture

I got pulled up on the southern side of Garigal on a lunchtime ride on Thursday by a fellow who was a consummate gentleman. He asked me kindly If I would not ride this particular trail as his colleagues would become most agitated if they were to find me there. He himself was a bike rider and was obviously had much commonality with my sport/passion. Given this fellows decency and respect shown I too respected his wishes without complaint or protest. Seems there are a few in there who may? (or may not?) have prejudicial tendencies towards bike riders. Funny that because we both enjoy the same thing, cruising through the bush. Some on foot some on a bike, not much difference really. One would think there would be a better understanding considering such similar interests? If all folks were as amicable as this fellow we could work together very easily, shame I didn't get his name.
I hear reports of more folks getting blown up at riding the bantry bay loop (you know, the sandstone one Smiling)on the weekend. Names taken down, photo's taken all that caper. I had a little scout about the other day with the thought of rerouting another small section of trail around another area I personally deem to be sensitive and worth protecting. Why because I give a shit, like 99% of us do. Don't think I'll bother now. Don't want to end up fined or in the can for doing the right thing or anything, that would really shit me. As a matter of fact I'd be livid. I could bring it to the attention of the right people but it'd probably end up being shit canned as well so I will not waste my time.
Consultation could yield oh so many benefits for all.
The eye's and ears of many could be at work for the benefit of NP, assisting in their workload of covering such a broad area.
I also know of a bloke (that has the brains of a goldfish sadly) that has gloated about taking his trail bike through Davidson and around the dam much to my disgust. I strongly had to resist the urge to belt him. His details could easily be supplied to National Parks. Sure you'd love to know of this chap.
Considering there are some that seem intent to tar me with the same brush as him more or less what's the point.
Would love to be of help but until somebody bothers to ask with the right intent behind it I shall remain silent.
The amount of people that have bought houses specifically within close riding proximity to Manly dam would astound you...
Going to be an interesting couple of years... Numbers speak volumes and as Simon said we're going no where and will continue to grow, better people accept this fact and work with the flow and look for the benefits of this future rather than digging ones heels in to little to no effect. Other whole towns economies are sustained by the influx of nature adoring outdoor bike riders..... Read .... "Opportunity!" not ".... "Obstacle"
Oh and another thing, anybody see the front page of the Daily about 2/3 weeks back with Peter Garret on it and the gist was 4 million or 4.2 million spondalaroochies approved to complete the loop around Narrabeen lake. That's great news but what does it have gold bricks? 2/3rds of it is already done. Does anybody know that the original trail that goes from wheeler heights shops to the boat sheds/picnic area was maintained for umpteenth amount of years by a legally blind mountain biker (the poor chap is an albino and has rather deteriorated eyesight, one of natures true gentleman)
Alistair, thank you for all your efforts over those years. Sure as hell you didn't get any thanks from anywhere .
The Deep creek trail had major restoration work done on it by a mountain biker who shall remain nameless to protect him from persecution. In his own time with his own money. By memory he had carried a generator in there, way in there!(considering this bloke could do time as a race horse jockey it would have been no mean feat) To power tools used to help him secure rock and stone work to make it safe for all, walkers included. Thanks very much "nomad" we'll call you... I shan't forget! Maybe you should submit an invoice for services rendered in about 1996 mate? Eye-wink
We are a passionate and pro active bunch, Thou shall be going no where...
Over and out...

jedijunglesnow's picture

Not a fan the ol' George W Bush and what he stood for, but the general populous heaped nothing but good priase on him and was more than happy to rake in the publicicty when he rode his mtb in Garrigal National Park!

And yes I know it wasn't singletrack he was riding, but it wasn't exactly one of the "100s kms or fire roads" either!

Rob's picture

Actually, Dubya rode in the drive training centre of Mona Vale road. See here:

jedijunglesnow's picture

Yep, I know exactly where he rode, as I said " it wasn't singletrack he was riding, but it wasn't exactly one of the "100s kms or fire roads" either!"

However the press reports made out it was in Garrigal, which makes it look even more like a desperate grab for publicity.

Note : Don't want to start getting off topic here, just thought it was worth noting.

herzog's picture

I'm pretty shocked by the remarks from the Bantry Bay ranger as reported above.

Last I checked this was a democracy, and we have every right to legally express our views and advocate our position, as does this Baird fellow on our behalf.

Almost warrants making a formal complaint about him.

Would anyone support some sort of protest ride to draw attention to the cause and maybe get a bit more coverage and govt action?

Maybe a mass MTB ride down macquarie street, or if we all showed up NPWS centre in Goulburn St or something?

Rob's picture

@Jedi... was it 50 kids of 4? The way I hear it, the latter.

As you all know the rangers do read the site and don't take kindly to some of the comments here.

If it's harsh but fair criticism then bad luck - they should suck it up, but if it's blatant exaggeration then that's another thing. Please bear this in mind when you post, and try and keep things honest and constructive.

jedijunglesnow's picture

Hey I wasn't trying to blatantly exgerate.

I wasn't on the carvings myself so I could only see them running around through the bushes, but there definately semed to be more than 4. I thought there was about 4 adults with them!

So if the ranger did see them then why weren't they fined?? To get onto the carvings they would've had to climb a fence!

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