Collies has entered the mountain bike community in full swing by hosting a MTB trail forum. It was about bringing professionals to grass roots advocacy and building good relationships with land managers
The day started with local speakers talking about their trail systems and how they came about and the processes they went through to get them built. 1st up was Barrie Thomas with his hand built trails on Cycletrek farm. With over 8km of single track, Barrie often holds xc races on his block. It’s also fully set up with a bike shop and has camping facilities. Private trails are a reality and have been around for a long time.
Mark Hudson from Pemberton explained that his trails are on education dept land. Mark regularly applies for trail building grants to get trails built by professional builders. Over the years the trail network continues to grow to cater for the tourist who come to town. XC and enduro events are becoming a regular show for the town.
Murray Wynne was next with a presentation on the Kalamunda circuit. Explaining how it evolved over the years. Dealing with DEC as they are the land managers is a large part of the process. Volunteer work with a mix of professional trail builders with grant money and prisoners doing the rest, the trails have been built to a high standard on the doorstep of the population of Perth. The success has the trails being ridden to capacity immediately.
Leon Price from Collie DEC gave the group a talk from their perspective on the land use and the growing demand for use of the bush from the public. Leon was happy with the relationship between the community and DEC in his area and has trust in the clubs of trail design and building. Leon has always been involved with IMBA reps when they come to WA, quoting the visits from Joey Klien. Strategic planning for mtb trails is being jointly funded by DEC and DSR we were told by Leon.
IMBA oz rep Nick Bowman gave a run down of some trail networks around Australia and commented that Collie is an ideal place for a large mtb trail network. Having visited Collie regularly Nic is getting to know the locals well and seeing the potential of a trails destination.
International Guest speaker Troy Rarick gave us a run down about his home town Fruita, how it evolved from a dying town to a successful mtb destination with a $30 million dollar economy built on the trails. Along with the success of the trails, there were also mistakes that were made, the whole town can benefit if it’s done right and business get on board to accommodate the riders.
Following the days presentations a sundowner was held where the most important networking was done with a beer in hand,. The Collies only brewery “BREW 42” donating some of their finest produce for the guest. The workshop was attened by about 45 people from the shire,DEC, SW mtb club, Collie mtb club, MRORCA, Mundabiddi foundation, and non riders wanting to know what it was all about. Shire councillor Ian Miffling was quoted “I came away feeling uplifted and know nothing about mountain bikes”.
The day was hailed a success, putting Collie on the map as a future mtb trail destination. Taking advantage of ample state forest surrounding the town,and being able to ride straight out onto the tracks from the middle of the town impressed Troy. He vowed to come back yearly as part of his annual Australian tour.