Mt Alex bike track on track, but land status uncertain

The 2015 State budget papers show that the Government’s Regional Infrastructure Fund is to be used to provide money to advance the design and construction of mountain bike tracks on the lower slopes of Mount Alexander.

As we have previously reported, the Mountain Bike Park is to be constructed in the Harcourt plantation, currently under management of Hancock Plantations, but soon to revert to public hands. You can find a map of the proposal here.

Previously, we had been led to believe that the plantation would be incorporated into the adjacent Mount Alexander Regional Park; it now appears that Parks Victoria is not keen on this move, and perhaps for good reasons. Legislation governing these parks includes the aims ‘to   preserve, protect and re-establish indigenous flora and fauna in the park’  and to ‘control exotic flora and fauna in the park.’ Given that we’re talking about a pine plantation, integration of the plantation would put park managers in a peculiar situation.

We’re not sure who will end up being responsible for the land–presumably it will be DELWP, once the plantation lease expires. The development proposal involves the construction of 16 trails totalling 34 kilometres, essentially around the contours of the site. We’ve been assured that the tracks will not spill over into the Regional Park. Currently there is some rogue bike riding on the steep upper slopes of the Mount. One of the challenges of track designers [and managers of the Great Dividing Trail] is to devise credible trails to divert riders away from destructive routes: and one of the challenges for Parks Victoria is to make sure the Park is protected effectively.

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