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  1. #201
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    So do you mean the river crossing plank is still in place?

  2. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuclear_powered View Post
    So do you mean the river crossing plank is still in place?
    The plank was left but the ranger may have removed it today. I might go and check later. Emerson was to get in contact with the ranger today so he may have more info to post.

  3. #203
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    If it has gone, the river is currently crossable at that point if you don't mind getting your feet wet!

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    Hi Emerson,

    I've just stumbled across this thread yesterday, seems like there's a bit happening at the moment!
    I've been doing some semi-regular riding out at Plenty Gorge (south of the river, haven't ventured north as yet!) the past 2 years, and I'm keen on keeping up to date and being involved as able with discussions with the park ranger etc.
    My email is a[dot]noye[at]backinmotion[dot]com[dot]au

    Cheers,
    Andrew

  5. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by jossa View Post
    The plank was left but the ranger may have removed it today. I might go and check later. Emerson was to get in contact with the ranger today so he may have more info to post.
    Hi everyone,

    Sorry I hadn't reported earlier. I believe the Ranger was happy with the fact that the high bridge was removed. I told him we had left the plank in place and he didn't seem too concerned about that - he didn't say he would be removing it either. I haven't been over there since we took the bridge away, so I can't say whether the plank is still in place.

    At this stage I have invited about a dozen riders to the meeting which will be held with the Ranger on the 24th of November. Even if only half turn up, we will have a good representation there on the day.

    Cheers,
    Emerson

  6. #206
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    I presume the gully bridge was of the main concern due to it's high nature and the fact you could come into it quite fast.

    But anyways, the plank across the river is still in place, if you can find it through all the bush:

  7. #207
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    Notes from yesterday's meeting with Parks Vic

    Meeting with Parks Victoria Rangers regarding mountain-biking in Plenty Gorge
    24/11/2012 Ranger’s Office, South Morang

    Present:
    Barry Coombes, PV Ranger
    Garry French, PV Regional Planner
    Emerson Thistlethwaite, MTB Melbourne
    Casper, local rider, also Smiths Gully MBC
    Troy Bussell, Cycle House
    Martin Boland, Dividing Ranges MBC (Lysterfield)
    Sean Milligan, Super Cycle
    Brendan Matthews, local rider
    Dave & Judith Anton, local riders
    Simon Giosserano, local rider

    At the Ranger’s invitation we met to discuss opportunities for mountain-biking in Plenty Gorge Park. Garry French gave a presentation on the main issues of focus for Parks Victoria, and made reference to the Plenty Gorge Master Plan, which is available on the parkweb here:
    http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/313425/Plenty-Gorge-Parklands-Master-Plan-1994.pdf


    Parks Victoria:
    PV is responsible for environmental conservation and cultural heritage in the Park. There are several species of rare and endangered fauna and flora in the area, which must be preserved and carefully managed. There are also sites of cultural significance, including pre-contact Aboriginal settlements and later historical developments. These sites need to be protected as well.
    Of course, a key concern is the safety of Park users.
    PV & DSE are developing state-wide guidelines for MTB on public lands – and the process involves consultation with MTB advocacy groups including Yarra Ranges MBC – however until those guidelines are formalised, we need to negotiate locally with Rangers to agree on where MTB riding will occur in our local Parks. Garry French acknowledged that they are aware that this occurs already, and that a blanket ban simply will not work, either for MTB riders, or for PV. It seems to be that the state-wide guidelines will likely include the consultation process at each site, so our meeting with the Rangers is in line with the plan which is being made.

    What PV proposes:
    A draft MTB loop has been devised by the Rangers, which provides for a singletrack loop (including smaller loop options) on the part of the Park which is bounded by Oatlands Rd in the east, Blue Lake in the west, Memorial Drive to the north, and Valley View Ct to the south (and the private property which extends west from the end of Valley View Ct – that property which has the motocross track).
    There is also a proposal to develop a shared-use trail along the pipeline easement which runs south-east from the reservoir tank, down to the corner of Valley View Ct and along McLaughlins Lane, meeting with the other easement along Sugar Gum Bvd, which is where the Plenty River Trail currently ends. This shared-use path would create a link between the existing bike path network and the picnic area at Yellow Gum Park, and it would be separate to the more natural singletrack favoured by adventurous MTB riders.
    Also shown on the map is a proposed trail, pencilled in as “walkers only??”, which runs along the fire trail from the gate on Oatlands Rd (at the corner of Mackelroy Rd), up past the corner of the private property with the moto track, and then south/southwest down the spur. The old ‘alphabet track’ (marked with posts showing letters, A, B, C, etc) for walkers has taken that route in the past.
    Garry suggested that there are opportunities for some small built structures, such as low board-walks and small bridges, to get across wet areas identified in the proposed loop – and we agreed that the best kind of trails are low-impact, sustainable, natural trails, with minimal man-made or obvious built structures. Of course, funding impacts heavily on what will be possible, but having riders appearing as a valid user group, with significant numbers, makes a difference to this.

    Why?
    One reason that this particular parcel of land was suggested as suitable for recreation is that it has all been cleared in the past, and there is no significant high-value conservation area there. Other parts of the Park do contain environmentally important, remnant, natural growth – but this part doesn’t present the same conflicts between conservation and recreation.

    Costs:
    Any trails or proposed trails will need to be assessed for impacts on sites of cultural and environmental significance. Such issues may not yet be known. There is considerable cost involved in assessing Aboriginal heritage values, and this will be a factor in completing any proposed works.
    Costs of trail-building and maintenance are obviously of concern to PV. As MTB riders, we indicated that we could reasonably expect to run working bees and do our own maintenance as may be required, as has recently happened in the past at other sites, such as Panton Hill – and this would significantly reduce the costs to PV.

    What about what’s there already?
    In regard to the existing network of trails, the Ranger asked that we provide detailed maps of all those trails which currently get ridden – and that we strongly discourage the creation of any new trails for the time being. By providing a comprehensive list of trails in use, PV will be able to (eventually) assess each of those trails for feasibility. It is expected that not all of them will be viable – if there are environmental, cultural, conservation or safety concerns, those concerns will need to be properly addressed. If MTB riders show that we can abide by the rules of the Park, it is more likely that further facilities will be made available. If, on the other hand, closed trails continue to be ridden, it will not help our cause.

    Crossing the Plenty River.
    Any structure for crossing the river (be it a ford, a bridge, or anything else for the purpose) must meet stringent requirements of Melbourne Water – which include being a single-span bridge more than 300mm above the 100-year flood level. This basically rules out any structure being built across the Plenty between Gorge Rd and the old steel pipe bridge which crosses next to the Plenty River Trail near Lear Ct, off Corowa Cres. The existing fording points will not be improved or recommended, to my understanding. There is a possibility that the old pipe bridge may be used to create a shared-use crossing point, however the steep descent down the pipeline easement on its western side is of concern to PV. There was also some suggestion that another crossing point, over the creek which runs alongside the Plenty River Trail near Palpera Terrace, might be considered for an alternative entry point – however the Park terrain is very steep in that area, and this would require considerable investigation.

    The South Side.
    The trails on the southern side of the Plenty River, between Kariboo Grove and Janefield Drive, were noted by the Rangers as being predominantly very well-made and sustainable. It was also indicated that this area is already heavy in traffic, including MTB riders, walkers and runners, and that this traffic will only increase once the housing development around University Hill is completed. PV is constructing a shared-use trail between the eastern end of the development and Linacre Drive.
    The fact that young riders often build jumps and cut new trails in the bush around this area is a known concern. We discussed ideas like creating an area for dirt jumps – the Ranger suggested originally that there would be room for something like this near the Yellow Gum picnic area, but given that most of its users would probably have no access to motor transport, or any desire to ride the distance to get there, this would be better placed near the Watsonia/Greensborough/Bundoora end of the Park.

    What’s next?
    The MTB riders will provide the PV Rangers with .gpx files, or other GPS data, showing where we currently ride. Also, a ‘wish list’ for the proposed MTB park area: what we want from it.
    The MTB community will also promote the consultation process which has started, and strongly discourage people from creating any new trails, committing to honour any closures deemed necessary by PV.
    PV Rangers will endeavour to assess all of those trails and advise what must be closed due to their concerns and responsibilities.

    I will keep you all informed as developments occur.
    Cheers,
    Emerson

  8. #208
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    Had a good ride out there today, hot and dusty.

    One thing i noticed was that the rock in the ground at the gully where the bridge once was has started eroding and has now formed a layer of loose rubble on the surface of the hill making it slippery and dangerous headed down the hill.
    Does anyone know if it is possible to head along the gully further before crossing, possibly up the gated dirt section of Happy Hollow Drive, and connect to the Port Lane Climb/Descent strava segment?

    Also i lost the contents of my saddle bag, possbily on White Cow. Nothing major, a couple CO2s and a multi-tool. Finders keepers.

  9. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by sedifus View Post
    Does anyone know if it is possible to head along the gully further before crossing, possibly up the gated dirt section of Happy Hollow Drive, and connect to the Port Lane Climb/Descent strava segment?
    Unfortunately not without straying onto private property - so no.

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowpat View Post
    Unfortunately not without straying onto private property - so no.
    Hmmmm...

    Local pointed this out to me:


    http://i.imgur.com/PyCLdrz.png
    Last edited by sedifus; 03-14-2013 at 01:40 AM.

  11. #211
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    Wouldn't mind finding some existing tracks around the gully rather than up the ridge..
    Last edited by sedifus; 03-17-2013 at 02:40 AM.

  12. #212
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    PM sent.

  13. #213
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    Looks like it will be left alone until parks takes care of it

  14. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by sedifus View Post
    Wouldn't mind finding some existing tracks around the gully rather than up the ridge..
    Agreed. And that map does seem to indicate a possibility of going across the gully quite a bit further up it.
    Problem is that Parks have distinctly asked us not to make any new trails until they have had the chance to assess the existing ones. This knowledge is good, in that it gives us options to present when the inevitable closure of the spur trail is flagged - but for the meanwhile, perhaps we can put up some signage alerting users to the danger at the base of the climb.

  15. #215
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    Could someone give me a brief rundown on what the plan is for Plenty gorge?
    It is a really amazing place!

  16. #216
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuartaus View Post
    Could someone give me a brief rundown on what the plan is for Plenty gorge?
    It is a really amazing place!
    Hi mate,

    No news as yet. The status quo has remained since we pulled down the 'dangerous' bridge. I will chase up Parks Vic this week to see if they have any news for us.

    Cheers,
    Emerson

  17. #217
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    Quote Originally Posted by emerthis View Post
    Hi mate,

    No news as yet. The status quo has remained since we pulled down the 'dangerous' bridge. I will chase up Parks Vic this week to see if they have any news for us.

    Cheers,
    Emerson
    Any news yet Emerson? Was out today and some trails need a bit of a clean up. I'd love to put my hand up to be some sort of maintenance leader for the area but in a week and a half i'll be on a flight to Canada to ride Whistler bike park for 3 months missing our winter.

    Although it bucketed down over the weekend the tracks fared pretty well. It is the main stuff that is wet, gullies are all flowing with water, and then also much of the dust and trail litter is holding water on the riding surfaces making it marshy. The only sections that i'd avoid are the climb at the start of am i lost reverse, following the u turn in the gully on the same segment where it flows downhill, the option 2 part of port lane descent in the razor grass and dry creek bed which has now become simply creek.

    Two notes though:
    The gully on the "happy hollow" segment towards the end has caved in further uphill, so be aware if you're riding it.
    The gully where the bridge was removed is very difficult to climb now, the sides are slippery, muddy and steep.

  18. #218
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    Quote Originally Posted by sedifus View Post
    Any news yet Emerson? Was out today and some trails need a bit of a clean up. I'd love to put my hand up to be some sort of maintenance leader for the area but in a week and a half i'll be on a flight to Canada to ride Whistler bike park for 3 months missing our winter.

    Although it bucketed down over the weekend the tracks fared pretty well. It is the main stuff that is wet, gullies are all flowing with water, and then also much of the dust and trail litter is holding water on the riding surfaces making it marshy. The only sections that i'd avoid are the climb at the start of am i lost reverse, following the u turn in the gully on the same segment where it flows downhill, the option 2 part of port lane descent in the razor grass and dry creek bed which has now become simply creek.

    Two notes though:
    The gully on the "happy hollow" segment towards the end has caved in further uphill, so be aware if you're riding it.
    The gully where the bridge was removed is very difficult to climb now, the sides are slippery, muddy and steep.
    Still nothing guys. I don't have time to get on the phone with them at the moment.

    I haven't been over the north side at least a couple of weeks now - but I'd espect some damage after that weather. Of more concern is the saplings that have been pushed down/broken off as you come down the old middle line, where you always had to slow to get your bars through the trees. I'm tempted to go and plant a couple of concrete posts in there to stop people taking short cuts - I hate it when people who can't ride it ruin it for people who can!

    That climb out of the gully (Am I lost rev.) that the runners turned into a quagmire last year is always treacherous once it gets wet - but it usually holds up pretty well, it's got a solid base. Though if you're referring to the long switchback climb after that u-turn gully I'm surprised to hear it might be getting bad - but then you say 'reverse' - we don't usually ride it back from Blue Lake. That's why the detour at the end of the firetrail is there.

    The dry creek bed was never going to be a sustainable trail. The one that runs parallel to it, on the western side, is the preferred option.

    I figured that section on the happy hollow loop would go eventually, as well. Might need to get up there and signpost that, it could be a bit dangerous for anyone not paying enough attention. Maybe some strategically placed logs?

    And yes, we know about the spur trail up from the ex-bridge. It simply has to be walked, at least for the first 50-100 metres. And it's not going to be pretty getting in/out of the gully either!

    Thanks for the heads-up =)

  19. #219
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    Quote Originally Posted by sedifus View Post
    .... but in a week and a half i'll be on a flight to Canada to ride Whistler bike park for 3 months missing our winter.
    I know I don't know you, but .... as amicably as I can put it: You lucky bastard. Give Black Velvet my regards.

  20. #220
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    Quote Originally Posted by emerthis View Post
    Still nothing guys. I don't have time to get on the phone with them at the moment.

    I haven't been over the north side at least a couple of weeks now - but I'd espect some damage after that weather. Of more concern is the saplings that have been pushed down/broken off as you come down the old middle line, where you always had to slow to get your bars through the trees. I'm tempted to go and plant a couple of concrete posts in there to stop people taking short cuts - I hate it when people who can't ride it ruin it for people who can!

    That climb out of the gully (Am I lost rev.) that the runners turned into a quagmire last year is always treacherous once it gets wet - but it usually holds up pretty well, it's got a solid base. Though if you're referring to the long switchback climb after that u-turn gully I'm surprised to hear it might be getting bad - but then you say 'reverse' - we don't usually ride it back from Blue Lake. That's why the detour at the end of the firetrail is there.

    The dry creek bed was never going to be a sustainable trail. The one that runs parallel to it, on the western side, is the preferred option.

    I figured that section on the happy hollow loop would go eventually, as well. Might need to get up there and signpost that, it could be a bit dangerous for anyone not paying enough attention. Maybe some strategically placed logs?

    And yes, we know about the spur trail up from the ex-bridge. It simply has to be walked, at least for the first 50-100 metres. And it's not going to be pretty getting in/out of the gully either!

    Thanks for the heads-up =)
    Thats alright Emerson, understandable.

    You are correct that the middle line, DH towards the river, has had a lot of saplings come out of it, i saw a motorbike rider there also on that weekend ride and he was coming out of the top of that segment, i'm sure they are as much to blame for the broken trees as any impatient riders.

    Both the boggy runners climb (still slippery after a week on the off camber climb out) and the decent post u turn were bad. I found the runners climb as expected and had no plans to ride it but the decent after the u-turn drops down into the gully a bit and a lot of water has been flowing along it, possibly a re-route higher up the hillside? By reverse i mean as the segment name, headed towards the lake.

    I think a large amount of logs would be good on the collapsed gully, not just for us riding happy hollow but for those exploring and crossing the gully at full pelt. The tracks there are very clear and look well ridden and it could very easily catch out a rider new to the area.

    And to Mr. Nuclear, i will send your regards!

  21. #221
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    This just in from the Ranger at Parks Vic:

    On-ground assessment of the trail network has now been completed, we now have a much better understanding of what is actually out there. Garry, Angelo and myself are meeting this afternoon to discuss and review the information we have compiled over the past few weeks. We will be in touch in the near future to schedule in a some meetings, I’m predicting these will be a mix of on-site and meeting room. Yes agreed, let’s keep communication timely and continuous.

    I have spoken with the Ranger by phone today and a bit of email over the last couple of days. Here's a bit of an excerpt from (well, most of) what I had to say:

    I saw your signage about the risk removal scheduled to start soon, in the heavily-used part of the park between the old Maroondah pipeline easement and the main fire road, at the southern end of the Park (see linked map). I must say, I was surprised to see how much the 'extreme' trails (with the big jumps) have spread across the area. I must agree that the way those jumps have been built does seem to pose an unnecessary level of risk, and it's certainly not in keeping with the natural forms that most of the more mature mountain-bike community values so highly about the area.

    The kind of jumps that have been appearing recently are often referred to as 'doubles', or 'double-jumps' in older jargon. They are comprised of an up-ramp, followed by a gap, and a completely separate down-ramp. They are uncompromising in that failure to negotiate the obstacle successfully carries quite a high risk of injury. There is a way to make these features less prone to risk, as demonstrated at You Yangs Regional Park - simply by filling the gap between the ramps. What you end up with is something that looks much more natural (for example, like an eroded termite mound) - however any trail with this kind of feature needs to be well sign-posted in terms of advisory warnings, and the jumps should be quite clear of surrounding trees, to minimise the chances of an accidental collision.

    I think that your proposal for the flat area near the water tank, up towards Yellow Gum (see linked map), is ideally suited to the kind of construction I refer to above - however you will find, as stated by the group at our meeting, that generally the builders of these trails and jumps are local kids, who mostly have no way of accessing the more remote parts of the Park, hence they build near the boundary of the park where the housing estates are located. I am quite sure that you will see a proliferation of this kind of thing once the new development at University Hill and Chancellor has become more established. It can really only be effectively minimised by frequent patrols.

    (and I said this about the spur trail where the gully was originally bridged)
    I would like to suggest that an alternate route be devised to re-route that trail away from the river, as I don't think the existing alignment is the best possibility - it is certainly challenging for riders and walkers alike, but it's something I hope to discuss in more detail in the near future. I understand that full closure may be a readily practicable solution, but it's not one we find satisfactory, as there is currently no other way to get from one side of the Park to the other without adding close to an hour each way to circumnavigate the Park border from Booyan Crescent, up the long Plenty River Path, filling the missing parts to McLaughlans Lane and Oatlands Rd - regardless of whether it's practical, it ruins the experience. Perhaps one of the old fording points in this area (see linked map) needs to be reinstated, as has occurred recently at Panton Hill and Smiths Gully, or simply rebuilt as a proper causeway to be closed during flood - it would certainly be a great deal less expensive than any bridge. It is evident that there are several points along the river which have been used this way in the past, and the '100-year floodline' argument notwithstanding, there is no reason why they could not be again. For example, look at this one on Kalparrin Avenue (see linked map), in central urban Greensborough!

    I also noted more signage around the area of the collapsed road across the erosion gully near the old Janefield site. I think this is entirely appropriate, given a quick inspection (from a safe distance) reveals
    that the concrete surface has subsided considerably in the past month or so since I was there last, and it's clearly very unstable. Well aside from the interests of trail-users, I would like to see remediation work undertaken with that entire gully, as it's an eyesore in its current state, littered with broken concrete and other old building debris. Perhaps the developers of the estate could be approached with regard to this? I can see that great lengths have been gone to, to stabilise and beautify other gullies (at the very top end) where users of the shared path might see them, but what has been done certainly appears to have no impact at all on erosion or image further down those same gullies. Indeed, the building debris from the new estates has turned parts of the park into a rubbish tip, in the opinion of many of the people I use the Park with.

    Referring back to the interests of mountain-bikers, I think the section of trail closest to the old Janefield site, rather than being closed completely, could be easily re-routed so as not to cross the eroded
    gully at all, keeping to the lower bank at a mandated minimum distance from its edge. This work would take half a day or less, with some volunteers using rakes and perhaps a machete to take out the taller
    weeds (I'm sure they're weeds - I've seen them sprayed by Parks before). With respect to your statement that the trail network appears to have grown extensively, I agree with you about what I assure you has been built by local kids at the very southern edge of the Park, however I can't really identify any other new trails, especially on the Yellow Gum side of the river. I know one old trail has been re-opened, and another old alignment is coming back into use to take pressure off a heavily eroded section near the top of the spur line on the way up to the water tank. There is also a temporary detour (which may turn out to be a more sustainable and interesting route) around one trail which drops straight down into a gully and straight out up the other side, near where an old vertical mine shaft has been fenced off. I believe that such realignment is in the interest of the Park, although I do agree that whoever did it hasn't waited for the ongoing consultation to occur, and as much as the outcome may be better for everyone, it doesn't paint the best picture of co-operation.


    So the net result is that things are happening, but we need to keep working with Parks on this. Yes, it's slow, but we're lucky not to have had the whole area closed off under a blanket ban - I think this shows that Parks are willing to work with us, and I expect we will be given an opportunity to meet again with the Rangers very soon, to discuss what happens next.

    Meanwhile, if you see that a trail has been closed, please stay off it. The vast majority of the trails used by MTBers in the Park are still open for us to ride - and they sure are getting a lot of use lately! The network is in brilliant condition at the moment, so let's enjoy it as it is for the time being, and look forward to developing the area into a mecca for mountain-bikers!

    Cheers,
    Emerson

  22. #222
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    Firstly, great work in continuing your consultations and dialog with Parks. It's the tireless efforts of people like you who allow for great places like this to be available to the masses.

    If I could just pass comment on a few of your points.

    "I must agree that the way those jumps have been built does seem to pose an unnecessary level of risk, and it's certainly not in keeping with the natural forms that most of the more mature mountain-bike community values so highly about the area.

    The kind of jumps that have been appearing recently are often referred to as 'doubles', or 'double-jumps' in older jargon. They are comprised of an up-ramp, followed by a gap, and a completely separate down-ramp. They are uncompromising in that failure to negotiate the obstacle successfully carries quite a high risk of injury. There is a way to make these features less prone to risk, as demonstrated at You Yangs Regional Park - simply by filling the gap between the ramps. What you end up with is something that looks much more natural (for example, like an eroded termite mound) - however any trail with this kind of feature needs to be well sign-posted in terms of advisory warnings, and the jumps should be quite clear of surrounding trees, to minimise the chances of an accidental collision".


    Who deems that the jumps you mentioned pose an unacceptable risk? The level of risk is subjective and based on riders skill. Whilst the jumps that are there are what I would describe as mildly "ghetto", they are not big, nor are they dangerous. A gap between the jumps is an exciting feature that skilled riders enjoy.

    Making a thinly veiled swipe at the younger generation over your assumption that mature riders do not approve of jumps, lends you to loose a margin of credibility.

    For what it's worth, I am 33 years old, and whilst I have not built any of those jumps, I certainly have maintained them to the best of my ability and I ride them regularly. That is, until recently when an unknown crew have gone to town on building the new jumps. Some of which are very well built, and others not so. But to blanket say they are an "unacceptable risk" and not for "mature riders" is a completely false assumption, and one I take great offense with.

    I don't know if you were saying these things to privy favor with Parks, and I can understand why you would do that. There has to be some give and take in the negotiations and to keep them on side.

    May I ask who decided on what jumps would stay, what would be removed and what would be turned into a table top? From briefly looking at the paint markings today, there is not a single double left, everything is a table and a hip jump is to be straightened. Strikes me that a person with little understanding and skill made those recommendations.

    I will leave this by saying, having some beginner, entry level jumps is better than having no jumps at all. But removing all challenge will just result in the less "mature" people building new unauthorized jump lines elsewhere in the park. Appropriate signage of the obstacles and signs to not litter, along with some decent work to make the area safer (ie removing the 1 metre high stumps that some moron decided to chop down, chop or remove protruding stakes in the ground and re-enforce the existing jumps and side walls) would suffice.

    One last thing, is it possible for Parks to erect more signs regarding the moto's? They are out of control lately, and I can't help but notice the lack of appropriate deterrence. I made a request to the Victoria Police Special Solo branch last week to patrol. Will wait and see if that amounts to anything.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yippee_Ki_YayMF View Post
    Firstly, great work in continuing your consultations and dialog with Parks. It's the tireless efforts of people like you who allow for great places like this to be available to the masses.
    Thanks mate, it is tiring advocacy work, and although there's no physical labour involved (yet), it certainly takes some effort. I know that people in this forum appreciate the effort, and I thank you for the recognition, as it's not solely for my own benefit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yippee_Ki_YayMF View Post
    If I could just pass comment on a few of your points.

    "I must agree that the way those jumps have been built does seem to pose an unnecessary level of risk, and it's certainly not in keeping with the natural forms that most of the more mature mountain-bike community values so highly about the area.
    I was responding directly to the Ranger's concerns, as emailed to me directly. Perhaps I should have simply cut and pasted the whole, multi-message, epic conversation in to the forum, but I thought I should cut it down a bit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yippee_Ki_YayMF View Post
    Who deems that the jumps you mentioned pose an unacceptable risk?
    The level of risk is subjective and based on riders skill. Whilst the jumps that are there are what I would describe as mildly "ghetto", they are not big, nor are they dangerous. A gap between the jumps is an exciting feature that skilled riders enjoy.
    The Ranger has made that judgement. I know there are plenty of riders out there who are capable, not only of riding the jumps, but also of determining (like me) that they are not capable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yippee_Ki_YayMF View Post
    Making a thinly veiled swipe at the younger generation over your assumption that mature riders do not approve of jumps, lends you to lose a margin of credibility.
    I made no such assumption, nor was I having a go at the younger riders - but I can certainly see how you came to interpret it that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yippee_Ki_YayMF View Post
    For what it's worth, I am 33 years old, and whilst I have not built any of those jumps, I certainly have maintained them to the best of my ability and I ride them regularly.
    Likewise, I love the old jumps line, and it's part of my usual loop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yippee_Ki_YayMF View Post
    That is, until recently when an unknown crew have gone to town on building the new jumps. Some of which are very well built, and others not so. But to blanket say they are an "unacceptable risk" and not for "mature riders" is a completely false assumption, and one I take great offense with.

    I don't know if you were saying these things to privy favor with Parks, and I can understand why you would do that. There has to be some give and take in the negotiations and to keep them on side.
    I have spread the word to the parties that attended the initial Plenty Gorge meeting (I think it was over a year ago now), and although you and I don't know who's been building the jumps, I can confirm that it was done by younger riders, thanks to some follow-up discussion which has happened since.

    I have been doing my level best to agree with what I'm being told by Parks - after all, they have the position of power in these negotiations - but I am also trying to provide representation from all riders, be they young kids, teenagers, or the less transitory recreational riders and XC junkies, like you and me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yippee_Ki_YayMF View Post
    May I ask who decided on what jumps would stay, what would be removed and what would be turned into a table top? From briefly looking at the paint markings today, there is not a single double left, everything is a table and a hip jump is to be straightened. Strikes me that a person with little understanding and skill made those recommendations.
    The Ranger has decided what's acceptable, and what isn't. I don't know whether he has yet had any opportunity to involve the environmental officer or anyone with engineering skills (both of which he tells me he has access to).

    He has asked for consultation to occur between himself and the builders, so he can show some good faith while explaining why he considers some of the risks as unacceptable. I have left this in the hands of a rider who is in contact with these builders, and I have faith that the consultation will occur - provided the builders (or their parents) are prepared to step up to the negotiating table.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yippee_Ki_YayMF View Post
    I will leave this by saying, having some beginner, entry level jumps is better than having no jumps at all. But removing all challenge will just result in the less "mature" people building new unauthorized jump lines elsewhere in the park. Appropriate signage of the obstacles and signs to not litter, along with some decent work to make the area safer (ie removing the 1 metre high stumps that some moron decided to chop down, chop or remove protruding stakes in the ground and re-enforce the existing jumps and side walls) would suffice.
    And you won't catch me disagreeing with that. While signage may be erected re littering and some of the more dangerous stumps may be removed, they are not yet in a position to be seen to encourage the building of jumps - and this is why, despite acknowledging that it's an easy and probably acceptable solution, they will not be doing any work towards 'building' as such. They have a proposal to provide an area specifically set aside for a jump park - but what I can tell you is that, if there are going to be any doubles, they will be roll-able doubles. This is not my idea, but I must agree that a sheer face will inevitably hurt some fool who either isn't aware of what's there or of their own lack of ability - and this is precisely what Parks define as an 'unacceptable risk'.
    Should we have the good fortune to either be left to our own devices, as has been the status quo for many years more than I've lived nearby, or for the Park to be turned into a bona fide MTB facility, then the approach to signage and acceptable risk may change. Until then, however, we're pretty much at their mercy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yippee_Ki_YayMF View Post
    One last thing, is it possible for Parks to erect more signs regarding the moto's? They are out of control lately, and I can't help but notice the lack of appropriate deterrence. I made a request to the Victoria Police Special Solo branch last week to patrol. Will wait and see if that amounts to anything.
    I have mentioned the moto problem in my discussions with the Ranger, and it is one of which they are well aware - but quite limited in resources to deal with the problem. I was advised that the moto problem at our southern end of the Park is quite minimal in comparison with the issue up at the other end, which is where more efforts are currently being focused. The Special Solo police branch was mentioned, but they are apparently completely swamped with work elsewhere. That said, there was something said along the lines that we can expect a crackdown on motos in the Park by summer.
    I have referenced possible trail-proofing options as suggested on other forums, but the majority of the problem is seen to be occurring on the fire road network, and there's currently little they can do about that.

    Finally,
    I can assure you that my first response to the email I got recently, that re-started this discussion, was not as calm and considered as the one I have excerpted above - but as the only person who's really been prepared to do the actual advocacy, I have to tread with a certain amount of caution and play my diplomatic best. It's an area we all share incredible passion for, and it's that passion, combined with our maturity, which will see us come out with what we ultimately want.

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    I completely understand everything you are saying. Especially the part where you referred to re-commencing discussions. I wrote the above straight after coming in from the ride, and my choice of argument was quite emotive. You didn't mention it, but if you were offended in anyway, then I apologize.

    When I got to the jumps trail head and saw the sign, I admit that I knew it was coming. I have found a few guys building, especially over school holidays and I have had some polite words of advice. In fact, I remember telling one group, that sometimes "less is more", and if you keep adding to an area that has been aloud to remain for so long, that they will draw too much attention to it and Parks will shut it down.... Well, seems that was pretty accurate.

    Anyway, we can only work with the situation that is presented to us. It is a difficult political game, one that takes a person of great character to fight for on behalf of others. And you can't please everyone, compromises must be made.

    Good work mate.

    P.S. I originally planned to attend the meeting last year, but had a conflicting prior arrangement. I am still interested in helping in dealings with Parks and or track work. Just let me know if there is something needed.

    Cheers,

    Tristan.
    Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon - Specialized Demo 8 II
    YKYMF - YouTube Channel - AM/DH Vids

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yippee_Ki_YayMF View Post
    I completely understand everything you are saying. Especially the part where you referred to re-commencing discussions. I wrote the above straight after coming in from the ride, and my choice of argument was quite emotive. You didn't mention it, but if you were offended in anyway, then I apologize.

    When I got to the jumps trail head and saw the sign, I admit that I knew it was coming. I have found a few guys building, especially over school holidays and I have had some polite words of advice. In fact, I remember telling one group, that sometimes "less is more", and if you keep adding to an area that has been aloud to remain for so long, that they will draw too much attention to it and Parks will shut it down.... Well, seems that was pretty accurate.

    Anyway, we can only work with the situation that is presented to us. It is a difficult political game, one that takes a person of great character to fight for on behalf of others. And you can't please everyone, compromises must be made.

    Good work mate.

    P.S. I originally planned to attend the meeting last year, but had a conflicting prior arrangement. I am still interested in helping in dealings with Parks and or track work. Just let me know if there is something needed.

    Cheers,

    Tristan.
    No offence taken mate. When we can involve people with hard work or meetings, I will put out the call.

    Cheers,
    Emerson

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