26 Sep 2013

Blue Mountains City Council opened the first accredited downhill mountain bike track in the City at Knapsack Reserve, Glenbrook on Saturday 21 September to the delight of the mountain bike community.

Mayor, Cr Mark Greenhill, said “The new downhill mountain bike track will be an important recreational facility for the Blue Mountains and greater Western Sydney region.

After a lot of careful planning and hard work, we can be proud of developing an environmentally friendly, low impact walking track and bike trail network in a bushland setting of national significance.”

Mountain biking is one of the faster growing recreational and sporting activities in Australia.

Working with experienced mountain bike riders, Council completed a Knapsack Reserve Mountain Bike Plan in October 2010. Construction of the track started in March 2013 after the necessary planning, design and environmental assessment work was completed and Australian Government approvals were obtained.

“Council and the riders have achieved a great deal working in partnership to complete Stage One of Council’s Knapsack Mountain Bike Plan”, said the Mayor.

Most notably, this partnership has achieved the design and construction of an 1,150m downhill track for experienced riders, a new volunteer Trackcare group to foster sustainable trail maintenance and ecological restoration, extensive track closure and rehabilitation and the installation of signage across the Reserve.

The $52,000 project was funded by a NSW Government Community Partnerships Building Grant of $12,000, a contribution of $8,000 from nature-based recreation licensing fees and the balance of $32,000 from Council’s operational budget.

Member for Penrith, Stuart, Ayers MP, said, “The Knapsack downhill mountain bike track is a perfect example of community partnership in action to build and improve local community facilities.”

Council and the community acted on the need to formalise opportunities for the popular sport of mountain bike riding in Knapsack Reserve to ensure riding is undertaken in as sustainable a manner as possible and to protect the biodiversity of Reserve.”

Mark Hawling, of Blue Mountains Off Road Cyclists (BMORC), said BMORC and riders welcome the long awaited opening of this trail after the closure of some important mountain bike trails in the Blue Mountains in the last few years.

This project has been achieved from a positive collaboration of riders, council and environmentalists working together and sharing knowledge.

“A big thanks” should go to the Council staff that BMORC have been involved with on a day to day basis as well Mayor Greenhill, Deputy Mayor Luchetti and Stuart Ayres MP who have been great champions for this project from the start. Also all the riders for getting behind the project and providing their considerable volunteer hours to see it to fruition.

This is also the beginning of an exciting mountain biking tourism opportunity.
Council and riders are now looking forward to Stage Two the Knapsack Mountain Bike Plan, to develop a 6.6 km cross country bike trail. Using the existing track network, Council and riders will work together to progressively improve sustainability of the old and degraded tracks that will form the cross country circuit and installation of additional track signage.