June 14, 2022
South Australia joins IMBA Europe’s ‘Take Care of Your Trails’ Campaign
*** Article written by Mandy Layden
Project Manager, Trails – Tourism & Economic Development
South Australia has become the first state in Australia to join IMBA Europe’s ‘Take Care of Your Trails’ (TCoYT) Campaign. Fox Creek Bike Park, 35 km from Adelaide in South Australia, was the first Australian trail network to participate.
The Fox Creek Bike Park, located in a mixed eucalyptus and pine forest reserve, was all but reduced to ash in devastating bushfires in December 2019. Trails and infrastructure across the park, one of South Australia’s best loved mountain biking destinations, were destroyed. The park remained inaccessible for months, as crews worked to make the area around trails safe to inspect.
It reopened in April 2021, after harvesting of fire affected pine plantations, and a post fire land management program. In Feb 2021, $2.5M in funding was secured from the National Bushfire Recovery Fund, co-funded by the South Australian and Australian governments, via the Local Economic Recovery Program. A program was developed to roll out over 18 months aimed at both fire recovery of the Fox Creek Bike Park, and enhancing the visitation experience as an internationally renowned trails-based destination through:
- Reinstating the lost trail network and providing trail visitor facilities (toilets, shelters, );
- Funding new trail development to align with national and international competition standards;
- Developing trail-based recreation opportunities throughout Fox Creek Bike Park to reinforce and create resilience for the community; and
- Creating international-standard event precincts and infrastructure to deliver International and National level events.
The community has been involved in rebuilding the bike park through a series of technical reference groups, Fox Care Trail days and events. A school competition was also held to develop the Fox Creek Bike Park logo and branding, with initial merchandise produced.
Commercial operators have been invited to submit expressions of interest in offering goods or services related to or based at the bike park. Two shuttle bus providers are currently providing up-lift services, and an E-bike demo centre is running an on-site trial.
The re-establishment of plantations occurred in 2021 and again in 2022 (June/July) and trails were designed and constructed in pre-determined corridors within these areas. The park has been designated into three distinct areas comprising gravity trails, trail riding, and cross-country trails. New initiatives include a drop off zone, redesigned carparks, a skills park, trail hub, event facilities and an adaptive mountain bike trail. Post fire recovery continues with ForestrySA operations making significant improvements to fire tracks, fire breaks, and fire response infrastructure within the Bike Park.
Take Care of Your Trails session – on 30th April, an inaugural TCoYT event was held involving 7 volunteers who donated 32 hours of their time. The session was held on the “Ant Logic” trail and included brush cutting wattle regrowth, trimming wattle stumps and saplings, trimming overhanging branches, clearing debris, and reforming the trail head entrance.
Julian Speed, ForestrySA CE commended the volunteers.
“We don’t want to lose sight of the fact that volunteer groups and mountain bike clubs and informal entities are the main reason this place was recognisable as a mountain bike hub in the first place.
And that attracted the funding to do the work to build it up after the fires. Without the locals spending their time and energy in the field, this thing wouldn’t be where it is today. Or where it will be in 6 months from now and beyond,” Mr Speed said.
The idea to participate in the ‘TCoYT campaign was instigated by Mandy Layden, who manages the Statewide Trails Strategy project led by South Australian Department for Environment and Water Mandy previously worked for the forestry commission, Scotland on the 7stanes Mountain Bike Trails project in 2009-10 then went on to manage the 7stanes Community Interest Company (CIC) 2013- 15, working alongside DMBinS. Mandy moved to Adelaide in South Australia in 2018, where she has found her way back into mountain biking and using her experience from Scottish mountain biking to influence the development in South Australia.
She said South Australia is excited to be included in IMBA Europe’s TCoYT campaign and has already gathered interest from other mountain bike maintenance groups to participate next year.
To find out more: https://foxcreekbikepark.com.au/
Information supplied by ForestrySA and images from Fox Creek Bike Park.
Contact – Mandy Layden, Project Manager, Trails – Department for Environment and Water, South Australia, Amanda.Layden@sa.gov.au 0427383937