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Letter Writing Campaign No 3

Nerf Herder's picture

By Nerf Herder - Posted on 19 June 2010

All Local residents should have received the below email.
If you did not please contact me via my screaming_gecko address.

We need all members to write and email councillors, and more importantly attend Council meeting on the 29th. I understand you all can't make it ... so please contact me if you are definitely attending so we can gauage numbers. We were beaten by 1 street of residents ... DON'T LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN.

We continue to support the findings of the Staff report issued for the 16Mar10. Primarily, that Nichols Pde should continue to be closed given a greater perceived impact to residents compared to the long established OBR tracks.


Firstly ... Thank you for taking time and showing interest in our attempts to secure an alternative and legitimate DH track in the Blue Mountains ... but more importantly, thank you for supporting our efforts to educate Council that legitimate trails are the key to riders building sustainable trails ... which is the key to conservation and continued assess to the bush we love, for sensible recreational use.

As a brief update, the search for an alternative track has produced obvious results. There are no alternative sites better then the established tracks at Old Bathurst Road. Even more telling, Old Bathurst road turned up in the search process conducted by council Staff.

FYI, an existing Plan of Management, approved by council, exists for KnapSack reserve, which allows for both a XC track and a DH track. This is obviously in direct conflicting to Councillors ban on DH on the Eastern Escarpment, and also validates the Staff report issued for the 16Mar10 meeting.

The next council meeting is scheduled for the 29Jun10 and staff findings re search for an alternative will be issued some time prior to this. To coincide with this meeting, BMORC members need to write and or email councillors. (Note: we would like as many BMORC members to attend this meeting as possible - if you are able to attend please confirm with me via email)

The attached word doc, provides some context, and a couple of sample letters that you can use as referrence. IMPORTANT NOTE: Form Letters are discounted by councillors, so you need to personalise your letters ... whilst covering the main points in the document.

I recommend, you email, then post to council (address details are in the below link)

However, to ensure reps can track our numbers please ENSURE you (or

We will collate the letters and bring them to Council to demonstrate our increased numbers.

NOTE: in the last campaign we had approx 8 local residents take time to write in and 9 to turn up to the council meeting. This is why we were beaten. Don't let this happen again, and take time to at least email all councillors and rider reps.

Together we can turn this eye openning event, that could have impacted any one of our trails or even any of our other outdoor activities, into legitimate and sustainable trails.

Any questions please don't hesitate to email or contact me on 0404 885 896.

If any of your neighbours or riding partners are similarly concerned with Councils lack on consultation when banning assess ... please encourage them to also write in to council or attend the 29Jun10 meeting.

(aka Nerf Herder)

Letter_campaign.doc26.5 KB
Andy Bloot's picture

Mountains Biking has not been banned. Some illegal tracks that were being used by downhill bike riders have been closed due to the environmental damage they were causing and our staff are looking at opening an alternative track.
This decision is some months old.

This must have been one of the first letters he received
He sent it from his iphone within a couple of hours of receiving it

Andy Bloot's picture

Edit: Note that the below is word for word from an email sent by Cr Greenhill to me and others
These are not my words - I haven't spoken to anybody
I assume this has been sent to those who have emailed, written or been involved

From Cr Greenhill

'Don't get your hopes up. There may be some good news.
Staff advise me there MAY be an alternative site. I spoke to them
early this morning in response to your emails.
This would be fabulous. But please don't get your hopes up.
I will send you more info when I have it.

moggio's picture

Well I wonder what this will be... have they magically found somewhere new... call me cynical, but....

Anyway if anyone gets more feedback post it up.

Kingy's picture

I also got a positive reply to my email along the same lines from Mark Greenhill, interesting that this development should arise in a single day off the back of a concerted letter writing campaign yet we were not aware of the development, me smells a rat? Is this spin? Surely if there were even an inkling of a chance that a site had been found we with the vested interest and large stake holder would have been at least alerted by council staff before now?
I like Moggio am a bit cycnical but time will tell.

Isildur's picture

I have also received a few responses from Cr Greenhill. I definitely applaud his ability in responding, as I have not received anything from any other councilors in response to any previous emails. Cr Greenhill seems to be the only one who cares enough (in his own way) about the issue.

Sorry for the long post, but I figured it better to quote everything, including my own emails, that was nothing is taken out of context. Hopefully we can all work towards a positive solution to the current state of affairs.

Again thank you towards Cr Greenhill for responding to my emails, and letting me know his position on the matter.

Correspondence Below:
Sent by me - Mon 21st June, 7:37pm
Subject: Old Bathurst Rd and Mountain Biking

Dear Councillors,
I am writing to you again to re-express my love and interest in all forms of mountain biking within the lower Blue Mountains, and especially the Downhill discipline. My partner and I are recent
residents of Blaxland, having moved here in October 2009. We moved from Sydney as we sought a change of pace from the hustle and bustle, and both love the outdoors.

One of our main activities is mountain biking, and I was quite excited, after moving here, to find that there were a number of trails found locally, The Old Bathurst Rd (OBR) & Nichols Pde sites among them, as well as the Knapsack Reserve trails.

I was upset to find that, not long after we moved here, Council was closing down the Old Bathurst Rd site & Nichols Pde site, due to environmental concerns, brought to Council's attention by the residents of Nichols Pde. Following this was the decision by council to "Close All Downhill Tracks on the Eastern Escarpment".

This closure of all trails seems to be at odds with the POM developed for Knapsack Reserve, which I assume was put together with consultation with the community and council staff experts. The POM for Knapsack reserve allows Mountain Biking, and specifically provisions a Downhill Track. Given that the environmental concerns at Old Bathurst Rd & Nichols Pde seem to be the same (Eastern Escarpment), I fail to understand how the trails were closed on environmental terms.

I was quietly excited to hear about council's proposed plan to search for a new site suitable for downhill mountain biking, but as I understand it, the report has come up with no options more suitable for a downhill track than the established Old Bathurst Rd site. I also understand that the report actually included Old Bathurst Rd within it's new search. This seems to additionally highlight the suitability of that site for use as a Downhill Mountain Biking area.

I truly hope that you will reconsider the decision to close the above mentioned trails. It does not seem to make sense to close a well established, maintainable trail, and then find a new area of pristine bush to design and cut new trails into. With a track care program in place, operated by a combination of council staff and volunteers, Old Bathurst Rd could be developed back into a sustainable, eco friendly trail. Finding volunteers would not be a problem, especially with the newly formed Blue Mountains Off-Road
Cyclists (BMORC) group.

At this stage, my partner and I, and our friends also, have no local place to ride, as we are abiding by the council's decision to close the trails. Instead, we have to drive at least 1.5 hours to ride any downhill trails (Lithgow & Ourimbah). This is obviously not an ideal solution from a logistical standpoint, but also from an
environmental standpoint, as we use far more fuel traveling to these other locations.

Again, please consider the fact the Knapsack Reserve is on the Eastern Escarpment, and has been approved for mountain biking, and detailed consultation was undertaken before this decision was made.
Please consider that this conflicts the decision made by council regarding the closure of Old Bathurst Rd. Please reconsider the original motion put forward by Cr Brendan Luchetti that the feasibility of Downhill Mountain biking at Old Bathurst Rd be approved for a 3 year period, and investigate & asses the aspects of sustainable trail design & environmental management at the site.

Kind Regards,
Gaby Mayo
[Address & Phone Removed]

Received from Cr Greenhill - Mon 21st June, 7:50pm
Subject: RE: Old Bathurst Rd and Mountain Biking

Interestingly we are suddenly receiving a number of emails on this issue after months of silence.

Remediation of the environmental damage is underway. I don't believe council can therefore reverse it's decision.

But there has been no report that suggests we have no alternatives. That report has not yet come to council.

I, for my part, will work hard to find an alternative. But I will not mislead you, I am ethically unable to support the re-opening of the illegal tracks that have caused so much damage to the precious forest
of our escarpment.


My Response - Mon 21st June, 8:28pm
Subject: RE: Old Bathurst Rd and Mountain Biking

Hi Mark,
Thank you for your quick reply. I believe there are a couple of reasons as to why the letters and emails are coming through now. As a group, Blue Mountains riders were never really organised. With the closure of the trails on the Eastern Escarpment, we realised that we needed to work together towards gaining sustainable trails, and also to correct the common mis-interpretations that sometimes surround mountain bikers as a group, and mountain biking as a sport. Also, the next council meeting is a chance for riders to show the community that were are here, and that we have goals of sustainable, environmentally friendly trails for everyone.

I can certainly understand your position on the damage that has occurred at Old Bathurst Rd. Surely though, a better solution than cutting new trails in untouched bush, is to correct the damage there
& design a sustainable trail at an already established area. With proper design, using resources such as the IMBA (International Mountain Biking Association), and consulting Trail Builders such as World Trail, a sustainable trail can be built there, while rehabilitating other areas of the Old Bathurst Rd network.

I often find myself comparing mountain bike trails to walking trails. Surely a large percentage of the walking trails in the Blue Mountains were at one stage "illegal", and only through time and numbers were they found to be accepted. Mountain biking is admittedly still in it's infancy, but is becoming more popular all the time. Surely it's better to have well built & managed trails from the outset, and also incorporate the management of some existing trails, than to have people just cutting new trails wherever they feel like.

Kind Regards,
Gaby Mayo

Received from Cr Greenhill - Mon 21st June, 11:17pm
Subject: RE: Old Bathurst Rd and Mountain Biking

Thanks, Gaby.

All the best with the campaign. I would advise you to look for alternatives to the escarpment.


Received from Cr Greenhill - Tue 22nd June, 8:27am
Subject: Possible Good News

Don't get your hopes up. There may be some good news.
Staff advise me there MAY be an alternative site. I spoke to them
early this morning in response to your emails.
This would be fabulous. But please don't get your hopes up.
I will send you more info when I have it.

Hopefully council have found a suitable site in the lower mountains, I look forward to heading about this site and any other possible options.


Andy Bloot's picture

Quote: I have also received a few responses from Cr Greenhill. I definitely applaud his ability in responding, as I have not received anything from any other councilors in response to any previous emails. Cr Greenhill seems to be the only one who cares enough (in his own way) about the issue. Quote

I agree
Everybody is entitled to their opinion
And while we may disagree with Cr Greenhill's, at least while there is dialogue there is hope of a compromise

Nerf Herder's picture

early days I know ... and there will be some via snail mail, and the inevitable ones that don't cc: reps ... however, I would call the response so far as pretty pathetic.

please don't wait until the last minute ... and please don't leave it to the other guy.

You count ... Only if you stand up to be counted

Isildur's picture

C'mon guys! Nerf is right!

You don't have to write anything as in-depth or detailed as I did, but just taking a few minutes to contribute will help in the long run.

(And note, what I wrote above only took about 15 minutes in total, so not much at all).

Let's all try and get behind this.

Flynny's picture

Lets not forget mr Greenhill was in the paper suggesting a site that had a total fall of 20m. Just shows a complete lack of understanding of what a Down hill track is

Chuck's picture

1. That the Council receive the report and note the information;
2. That the Council endorses further assessment and consultation with stakeholders
concerning the formalisation of mountain bike tracks in Knapsack Reserve, as provided
for in the existing Knapsack Reserve Plan of Management; and
3. That the Council receives a further report by 30 June 2011 addressing the assessment of
tracks, consultation outcomes and proposed usage strategy at Knapsack Reserve.

Take a look.

Item 9.

moggio's picture

Thanks chuck for the link... see what feedback you can get from your mate on how he reads this. Be really interested to hear.

This is interesting and a little unexpected in some ways.......

trim's picture

I rode Grose Hill South today and noticed dirt bike tracks (yep, illegal in the national park). A single dirt causes more damage than many MTB's. I haven't ridden OBR, but is it possible that they are using the track and causing some of the damage? If so, is it possible to control access and design a track type to limit appeal to dirt bikes?

BM Epic's picture

Yep, Grose Head South has been constantly barraged by dirt bikes for the last 5 years, when Jeff and I opened up the single track( linked it together), it has been used and smashed by bikers, they have caused massive damage to it, if you ever see them, ring either the police, national parks or if you confront them, tell them you allready have rung, they are NOT supposed to be there, everybody from walkers, riders to the school opposes them fully!

Ian_A's picture

Being a dirt bike rider myself, I don't know why you would ride GHS. It is too open and boring for trail bikes. The single track would be a bit tight to ride with any flow as well. Ideally a dirt bike single track is very similar to mtb single track but a little wider clearing.
I've seen the tracks out there too - I'm guessing they are actually from a young bloke or yobbo on a small bike as the exit of corners isn't torn up like that from bigger bikes.
I've never seen anyone out there though, I thought it might have been a runner on a bike when they were back burning going between groups or something.

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