West Australian Mountain Bike Association (WAMBA) is the state representative body for the West Australian mountain bike community.

A volunteer organisation, WAMBA works collaboratively with key stakeholders to identify, develop and sustain mountain bike experiences in Western Australia.

And also acts as a resource for clubs looking for help on trail advocacy and grants, and co-ordinates the racing calendar.

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WAMBA's Response to Consultation Draft of the WA Mountain Bike Management Guidelines

One of the more important documents currently under development is without doubt the Mountain Bike Guidelines, which will ultimately drive how all future mountain bike trails will be developed in this state. As such, I take a very strong personal interest in the content of this document and additionally have the fortune of representing the view of WAMBA and much of the mountain bike community, whom I have consulted to the best of my ability.

Firstly, WAMBA would like to acknowledge the ongoing and significant efforts of Parks and Wildlife (DPW), Department of Sport and Recreation, WestCycle, Local Governments, Mountain bike clubs and the individuals involved in the various project steering committees. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Mountain Bike Guidelines Working Group, facilitated by DPW, trail development protocols are now clearly defined. In parallel with this project, significant tracts of land suitable for the development of trails have also been identified through the various state and regional master plans. All of this has set a solid foundation for ongoing and future development of sustainable trails designed to meet a range of disciplines and capabilities. 

Secondly, WAMBA acknowledges that the approach being taken in the development of the Murray Valley, Bramley National Park, Wellington Mills and Pemberton sites, using the process outlined in the Guidelines, is a great way to test the process and provide additional refinements as required.

WAMBA have been involved in this project and fully supports the principle of the Guidelines. However, the current growth of all disciplines in Mountain Biking in this state (and globally) has ensured that additional focus has now been placed on the contents of this document.

WAMBA have also had several representatives on the steering committees for Perth Peel and South West Master Plans and as such have been heavily involved in their development.

It is WAMBA’s view that decisions made in this document, particularly in relation to land access, will have far reaching impacts on the land made available for trail development for years to come. For this reason the comments included in this submission are focused on Table 3 on page 21 of the draft document. The comments made also consider similar concerns of many in the broader mountain bike community that WAMBA have engaged with.

One issue that this table presents is that Downhill (DH) and Freeride (FR) disciplines are treated differently to the other disciplines listed. In our opinion, this gives the impression that they are not valued as highly and in turn may disengage a significant portion of the community, contributing to the continued development of informal or unsanctioned trails. 

Stating that DH and FR are `Not Compatible` with National Parks in this document will have the effect of ensuring that this remains the case for years to come. If there is a change in policy which increased that quantity of National Parks in the state, it would further reduce the land accessible to these disciplines.

WAMBA is not aware of any empirical evidence that suggests that DH or FR disciplines carry any additional risk to the environment. On this basis, it is our position that their compatibility with land tenures is equal to any other discipline of mountain biking. From a practical perspective, these trails have a much smaller footprint than Cross Country and All Mountain trails and can be built sustainably with minimal impact on the natural environment, using the tools described in the Guidelines.

In summary, the Guidelines outline a detailed and very thorough process for developing sustainable trails. The techniques described should allow trail types suited to any discipline to be built on any land type. WAMBA believe this is the greatest value in having the Mountain Bike Guidelines available to use. Restricting the application of the techniques described to only certain disciplines of mountain biking may undermine the value of the document.

WAMBA requests that the restrictions on disciplines be removed from the document. Instead, we ask that trail opportunities are considered in their own right, using the processes, tools and techniques described in the Guidelines, regardless of the discipline.

Ben Pruden

Chairperson of the Trails Access Management Council - WAMBA

WA Mountain Bike Guidelines 

  

Maintenance on Luvin Shovels, Kalamunda

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