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Blueprint for future of mountain bike network

A DRAFT plan for an expanded mountain bike network on kunanyi/Mount Wellington has been released, providing a blueprint for future mountain bike infrastructure.

The City of Hobart’s Draft Mountain Bike Network Plan identifies and prioritises proposed future tracks through the foothills of the mountain, with members of the community invited to comment on the Your Say website.

Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the City of Hobart was working with leading mountain bike trail consultants Dirt Art and regular mountain users to design tracks to meet the future needs of locals and attract visitors to the city.

“We know there are many people who are missing their regular mountain rides or walks right now,” Lord Mayor Reynolds said.

“But while we can’t currently access Wellington Park, it’s a great time to be thinking about how we can enhance the experience of riders in the future.

“We expect mountain biking and other eco-tourism activities to play an enormous role in the economic recovery of our city and region.”

In total, up to 47 kilometres of proposed tracks have been designed to meet the needs of riders without causing conflict between different user groups.

They will provide safe, high-quality mountain bike riding, with a mix of distances, technical challenges and different styles of riding.

“The design is also sensitive to the mountain’s environmental, historical and cultural values,” Lord Mayor Reynolds said.

“These plans for new mountain bike tracks on the mountain would create a unique experience for local and visiting mountain biker riders, and balance out the mix of tracks on the mountain.”

Dirt Art managing director Simon French said mountain biking in the area was limited, with kunanyi/Mount Wellington currently having almost 80 kilometres of walking, but only three kilometres of tracks that were specifically for mountain bike use.

“There is a focus on trying to make the trails more accessible and more appealing to a broader market of riders, but also to improve connectivity and diversity amongst the existing trail networks,” he said.

“The other key part is to create better separation and better functionality between the different user groups.

“We’re looking at proposing shared use between mountain biking and walking on those trails that are really appropriate for shared use, but also try to separate shared use where it is not appropriate, such as descending mountain bike trails.”

A recent survey of track users revealed that 83 per cent of respondents supported the provision of new mountain bike tracks on the mountain, and 72 per cent of preferred separated tracks – tracks built specifically for either mountain bike riding or walking and running.

A $387,000 grant through the Tasmanian Government’s Cycle Tourism Fund has been committed toward the first stage of implementation.

To view the draft plan and have your say, visit yoursay.hobartcity.com.au/riding-the-mountain.

Caption: A mountain bike rider going down the Tip Top Track. Photo credit: Chris Hampton.