In one of the most significant steps for NSW mountain biking to date, the National Parks and Wildlife Service has just released a Draft Strategy for mountain biking in the Illawarra AKA The Gong AKA MTB Paradise. But we only have 6 weeks to make our voices heard!
This news is hot off the press! Late yesterday we received a exceptionally excited phone call from a Wollongong local, Josh Carlson. What Josh told us, in between bursts of uncontained froth, made our day.
In a nutshell, tireless years of work by the Illawarra MTB Alliance, NPWS and many more folk have brought the prospect of legal mountain bike trails in Wollongong and its surrounds tantalisingly close to reality. BUT, it’s not a done deal yet, and we need the mountain bike community to show their support for the plan! We have just 42 days to make our voices heard and ensure this incredible opportunity doesn’t go begging.
Only 42 days to turn an unprecedented opportunity into a reality!
So, how can I help?!
It’s up to each one of us to send a strong, clear message to NPWS & Wollongong City Council (WCC) that this proposed project is very much a positive move, not only due to the obvious, short-term benefits for the MTB community, but also for the broader, long-term implications for the entire Illawarra region.
Firstly, have a look at the NPWS Draft MTB Strategy and Wollongong City Council Plan of Management,.
Secondly, add your voice to the discussion by expressing your support for the concept!
And don’t forget to comment on the Wollongong City Council Keira Summit Park Plan here too!
As many of you may know, an extensive network of informal trails already exists in the Illawarra escarpment, but what we have now is an opportunity to plan and create a truly World class, legal, trail network for generations to come, with tremendous benefits to the community.
In announcing the release of the Draft Mountain Bike Strategy, Gareth Ward MP said: “We shouldn’t sell this short – today’s announcement is huge news for our region. It’s not only a sensible step but it’s a major turning point in what will be a fantastic opportunity.”
As Destination Wollongong GM Mark Sleigh put it, “It’s important to acknowledge that Mountain biking occurs every single day on the Illawarra escarpment – and will continue to happen every single day regardless of the outcomes of this process. It’s not an argument about whether we want mountain biking on the escarpment because we can’t control that; it’s whether we want to plan, control and optimise it.’
“What this process can deliver is a sustainable trail network, which integrates with other existing uses of the escarpment in a safe manner. Crucially, trails can be built in areas of lower cultural and ecological significance, which can’t be guaranteed at the moment.. Surely that’s a win for everyone who has an interest in the long term sustainability of the Illawarra Escarpment.
As a community, we now stand on the precipice. We’ve been presented with a massive, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure an amazing network of legal MTB trails across the escarpment but, at the moment, that’s all it is… an opportunity.
Without a strong voice of endorsement from the community that says, ‘we want these trails for the Illawarra!’, there remains a very good chance that nothing more will happen. Please make your submission now!