When the fires hit much of Australia in 2019/2020 it was devastating with many lives and communities impacted. The Australian and NSW governments co-funded a $4.5 billion bushfire support program, called the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) Package.
It was aimed to support job retention and creation in bushfire impacted regions, strengthen community resilience and reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
In July 2021 three major grants under this package were announced that will see approximately 130 km of new mountain bike trails constructed. Two of the winning projects, Narooma and Eden, are on the south coast of NSW and the third, Kiwarrak, on the north coast.
Narooma Mountain Bike Club secured $3,914,356 from BLER for Stages 2 and 3 of their mountain bike trails.
This grant will allow them to construct up to 70 km of brand new mountain bike trails and a trailhead, as part of the Narooma Mountain Bike Trails Hub.
In addition to the existing 30 km of existing trails, the new trails will create a 100 km mountain bike network for Narooma. Better yet, the trails will form a key hub of the South Coast regional network of trails, boosting the region’s tourism appeal.
The Narooma Mountain Bike Club was scheduled to release the draft plan at their annual general meeting on 28th July 2021.
Further south near the Victorian border, Eden Mountain Bike Hub has received $4,524,317 in funding to help the region combat the seasonal nature of the local tourism sector by leveraging the natural attributes of the area, including the Nullica State Forest.
This project will fund up to 60 km of mountain biking trails, the trailhead, amenities, signposts and other infrastructure.
Originally the club received a $25,000 grant which enabled them to do a proper analysis of creating a mountain bike network.
In February 2021 World Trail founder Glen Jacobs and General Manager Gerard McHugh visited Eden to conduct the fieldwork component and speak up the project to the local media.
Subsequently, the club put in a proposal and received the $4,524,317 grant needed to turn Eden and the South Coast into a mountain bike mecca.
Kiwarrak Mountain Bike Park, which is located near Taree, NSW, received $403,980 after the Black Summer Bushfires completely destroyed the park. This money will help to create accessible trails for those with adaptive bikes, trails of various difficulty levels to suit riders of all abilities, toilets, change rooms and undercover BBQ areas for community use.
Most of this article was first published by Bicycle NSW.