EARTH FIRST | Not the best place for a bike track

Valuable: Mount Canobolas is major tourism drawcard for Orange, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
Valuable: Mount Canobolas is major tourism drawcard for Orange, attracting thousands of visitors each year.

The Mount Canobolas State Conservation Area (SCA) was established for the protection of a sensitive, unique ecological community and sites which are of heritage and Aboriginal significance.

The proposal to establish a mountain bike track in the SCA is of concern because of its scale, the small size of the conservation area, the likely adverse effects to flora and fauna, and its threat to the rights of other user groups.

The proposal, if successful will result in the clearing of approximately six hectares of vegetation across the mountain, causing fragmentation of all vegetation communities. There is also a high likelihood that such extensive construction will disturb Aboriginal sites and cultural heritage.

As a mountain bike rider who values Mount Canobolas for its natural and cultural significance, I am very concerned with the proposal. Elsewhere I have witnessed the impacts of the sport, including soil erosion, trampling of sensitive vegetation by spectators, collisions between riders and wildlife, illegal access and activities, and I have seen pristine creeks become thick mud.

In my experience, mountain bike riders are mostly environmentally responsible, but few could honestly say that mountain bike riding doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment.

There is an opportunity to develop a mountain biking industry in Orange. There is plenty of support for mountain biking, but Mount Canobolas is the wrong place for this sport. The Mount Canobolas SCA is recovering from an enormous bush fire. Our efforts need to be focused on helping to rehabilitate, not further compromise the area.

The best outcome would involve the use of the much larger surrounding pine plantations.   This alternative would ensure the protection of the SCA and the simultaneous use of the mountain precinct for mountain biking. A positive outcome for everyone!

If you are concerned about the proposed destruction of Mount Canobolas by mountain biking, please write a short letter to the NSW Minister for the Environment – via email or post your submission to The Manager - Planning Evaluation and Assessment, PO Box 95, Parramatta NSW 2124.