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Goodbye Newnes, Ben Bullen and Lidsdale State Forests

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  • Goodbye Newnes, Ben Bullen and Lidsdale State Forests

    B14FE4F8-ADC9-4634-BCCC-A8DB1E701DB3.jpeg
    There will be laws introduced next month to State Parliament to enable these SF’s to be transferred into the National Parks estate. The aim is to create a 120,000 acre ‘eco-park’ including a multi-day walking track through Wollemi, a huge zip line, mountain bike and 4WD tracks. There is no mention of our dirt bike interests. It is obvious that our peak body, The Motorcycle Council of NSW, weren’t consulted at all prior to these plans coming to fruition. The Colong Foundation have been lobbying to annexe this undoubtedly significant and beautiful land for 90 years.

    Sydney-based riders have already lost all of Jellore, half of Belanglo and parts of Meryla SF recently. How long are we all going to sit by and watch our public lands be locked up? The most depressing thing I’ve read in the last 24hrs is CJ Burns, Esq’s - erstwhile DBW regular - 2012 report for the MCC into dirt bike trends, the way forward including securing riding areas, and the economic and well-being benefits our sport brings. That’s nearly a decade ago - and nothing has changed.

    The MCC’s Dirt Bike Sub-Committee is only 2 years old and NSW is the only State or Territory without an active Dirt Bike Strategy. Yes, the MCC appear a little off the pace in terms of representing our interests, but as the peak body in NSW a strong, coherent dirt bike voice in Government’s ear is the only way to push our agenda. Bush walkers, mtb’ers and horse riders all have lobbyists - we may need to super-charge the MCC to have our voice heard. For example, the secrecy around single track on public land has to be lifted, discussed openly and a way to legalise this most crucial part of our sport found. The State Government assumes in the new plan for Zig Zag, et al, that we all just ride fire trails - no-one has explained to them that single is at the heart of off-road riding for licenced, insured and registered dirt bike riders in NSW in 2021. This has to change.

    I have had contact with both Matt Kean, NSW Environment Minister and Treasurer and Brian Wood, MCC of NSW Secretary in the last 2 days. I have offered any help I can give to coalesce our collective power and have our voices heard. I will be part of the next MCC of NSW dirt bike sub-committee meeting.
    2020 Beta RR300

  • #2
    There’s an opportunity to present ourselves as part of the solution in these cases rather than an enemy of the conservationists.

    I’m sure most of us would be happy with some kind of managed or even paid access with a management plan in place rather than see more and more of these areas become locked out for recreational usage.

    With better engagement, NSW parks has the opportunity to gain thousands of active supporters of conservation and even the thumbs up to see more areas converted—provided we can enjoy them responsibly.

    I don’t believe there’s a single one of us who doesn’t love and support bush conservation and if we had our way there’d be more of it as long as we’re able to use some of it in a controlled manner.

    I’m keen to be involved in any lobbying or representations made, but not sure where to start or go. Sounds like you have the ear of some at least—any way I can contribute?

    "The problem with internet quotes is that you can't always depend on their accuracy" - Abraham Lincoln

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    • #3

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      • #4
        Originally posted by gnashbritches View Post
        There’s an opportunity to present ourselves as part of the solution in these cases rather than an enemy of the conservationists.

        I’m sure most of us would be happy with some kind of managed or even paid access with a management plan in place rather than see more and more of these areas become locked out for recreational usage.

        With better engagement, NSW parks has the opportunity to gain thousands of active supporters of conservation and even the thumbs up to see more areas converted—provided we can enjoy them responsibly.

        I don’t believe there’s a single one of us who doesn’t love and support bush conservation and if we had our way there’d be more of it as long as we’re able to use some of it in a controlled manner.

        I’m keen to be involved in any lobbying or representations made, but not sure where to start or go. Sounds like you have the ear of some at least—any way I can contribute?
        Gnasher, the wheels are turning and if you are on Facebook, the Australian Enduro page will be regularly updated in regard to this vital issue. Greg Peterson (ex-Shrek on here) is involved and there are other passionate, honest riders - myself included - on the case and giving their time gratis. I will post up any updates here, too, for those who aren’t on socials.

        2020 Beta RR300

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        • #5
          Originally posted by gibnut View Post

          Gnasher, the wheels are turning and if you are on Facebook, the Australian Enduro page will be regularly updated in regard to this vital issue. Greg Peterson (ex-Shrek on here) is involved and there are other passionate, honest riders - myself included - on the case and giving their time gratis. I will post up any updates here, too, for those who aren’t on socials.
          Cheers gibnut—I saw your post there, too and will stay tuned for sure.
          "The problem with internet quotes is that you can't always depend on their accuracy" - Abraham Lincoln

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          • #6
            Happening down here in Vic as well. Wombat, Lederderg, Cobaw all on their list to turn into National Park.
            According to the powers that be its to encourage more people out of the city and out to the bush, the thousands that use these areas already dont make the list clearly.

            2014 450EXC

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            • #7
              Happened outside my back door years ago. Lucky I have plenty of my own trails. I'm stuffed tonight actually after making new trails all morning.

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              • #8
                In the not too distant future, ride parks on private land will be the only option. Legally anyway....
                2014 450EXC

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                • #9
                  We saw a similar thing happen in large areas of Qld Forestry about 10 years ago when the Government of the day sold off the timber resources in previously designated state forests on long term leases over the land. Most of these areas were plantation pines, but not all. The remaining areas, basically what Hancocks didn't want were turned into National Parks by the Government and generally locked up. Their strategy in locking them up was to minimise maintenance. Although they never admit this it is quite obvious what is happening due to reduced funding to the department and overrepresentation of non operational executive staff at the expense of people on the ground, the Department will eventually disappear up it's own arse.
                  The advantage of this for riders is there is minimal policing of riding areas and if you're prepared to not see the odd gate or sign it's usually riding as usual. Quite often 4WD's provide unofficial access points as well There is some slight risk of getting caught but it's minimal and usually some negotiation / bullshit will overcome.
                  I also add that it's always been illegal to ride single trail (in Qld, probably NSW as well) so that is probably not going to give much leverage in negotiations. The various acts state that riding should be on formed roads only but the definition of what is a formed road is very unclear It's generally considered that overgrown former logging tracks are formed roads, Having said that I've never been aware of anyone ever being fined for riding on a non formed road.
                  Over the years I've tried negotiating at various levels with people in the QPWS (or whatever their current title was). This has generally been fruitless, they always shift the blame/responsibility upward as policy determined from above. Going to the top is equally useless. The Environment Minister's office always stands on the moral high ground and cites the need to separate motorised vehicles from other park users and generally sides with the Greens for political reasons. And they really don't give a fvck about a few displaced dirtbikers anyway.
                  I see the ideal solution being a large representative group that is able to exert some pressure at a political level, But history and experience shows that's unlikely to happen so plan B is ride under the radar.
                  Platinum Club Mud 697

                  "Political correctness is a doctrine fostered by a delusional illogical minority and promoted by mainstream media which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DV8 View Post
                    We saw a similar thing happen in large areas of Qld Forestry about 10 years ago when the Government of the day sold off the timber resources in previously designated state forests on long term leases over the land. Most of these areas were plantation pines, but not all. The remaining areas, basically what Hancocks didn't want were turned into National Parks by the Government and generally locked up. Their strategy in locking them up was to minimise maintenance. Although they never admit this it is quite obvious what is happening due to reduced funding to the department and overrepresentation of non operational executive staff at the expense of people on the ground, the Department will eventually disappear up it's own arse.
                    The advantage of this for riders is there is minimal policing of riding areas and if you're prepared to not see the odd gate or sign it's usually riding as usual. Quite often 4WD's provide unofficial access points as well There is some slight risk of getting caught but it's minimal and usually some negotiation / bullshit will overcome.
                    I also add that it's always been illegal to ride single trail (in Qld, probably NSW as well) so that is probably not going to give much leverage in negotiations. The various acts state that riding should be on formed roads only but the definition of what is a formed road is very unclear It's generally considered that overgrown former logging tracks are formed roads, Having said that I've never been aware of anyone ever being fined for riding on a non formed road.
                    Over the years I've tried negotiating at various levels with people in the QPWS (or whatever their current title was). This has generally been fruitless, they always shift the blame/responsibility upward as policy determined from above. Going to the top is equally useless. The Environment Minister's office always stands on the moral high ground and cites the need to separate motorised vehicles from other park users and generally sides with the Greens for political reasons. And they really don't give a fvck about a few displaced dirtbikers anyway.
                    I see the ideal solution being a large representative group that is able to exert some pressure at a political level, But history and experience shows that's unlikely to happen so plan B is ride under the radar.
                    You are correct in your summary of the strategy. The forests have been mostly logged out and it looks good politically to be creating national parks. It is easier/cheaper to lock an area up than to maintain it.
                    I had a friend who worked for NSW national Parks and Department of the environment, she confirmed that Forestry Corp. was wanting National Parks to take over forests to get the costs of maintenance of their books.
                    In 40 plus years of riding in the bush I can count on one hand the bush walkers I have come across, the mountain bikers are happy to hang out in their small sections of forest and the four wheel drives generally drive over the same sections and destroy them. I suspect dirtbike riders are the greatest percentage of forest users but have no representation and a poor public profile.
                    There is no harm in trying to get together with other riders and groups such as the MCC of NSW and lobbying the government of the day though and hopefully that will help our cause.
                    Last edited by Craigy; 5 days ago.
                    CRF 100F 2004
                    Beta XT 2020

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                    • #11
                      There has been a LOT of work done in the background by Greg Peterson, myself and some very well-credentialed others in the last week in NSW. The plan is to coalesce the obvious support that exists into action through one well-planned, well-executed and sustained lobbying effort. I and another experienced, passionate responsible access advocate will hopefully be meeting with top-level NSW Dept Of Environment & NPWS personnel shortly to break the ice and push the case for us to be able to legally use the extant single track network on public lands in NSW.

                      We aren’t mindless environmental vandals and don’t deserve to be painted that way by the actions of small number of unregistered and irresponsible riders.
                      2020 Beta RR300

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