Page 6076 - Week 14 - Thursday, 8 December 2011

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(3) Riding on formed trails does not result in ecological damage. However, some damage is evident in the form of illegal tracks used by mountain biker riders in some areas.

(4) Parks and Conservation has implemented the following measures to manage the risk of damage:

a) Signage in each of the reserves to indicate where mountain bikes can be ridden;

b) Ranger patrols in areas that have particular issues with illegal mountain bike access;

c) Working with the Friends of Bruce Ridge ParkCare Group, which has a mix of mountain bike enthusiasts and conservationists as members, to develop a shared trail system on Bruce Ridge; and

d) Quarterly meetings with key recreation user groups which includes representation from Canberra Off Road Cyclists (CORC).

(5) As well as working with the Friends of Bruce Ridge ParkCare Group as outlined in 4d), TAMS Parks and City Services (PCS) works closely with cycling event organisers on a case by case basis to ensure the protection of conservation values. In addition, CORC has been involved in the development of the ACT Trails Strategy Discussion Paper.

(6) PCS initiated the formation of the Friends of Bruce Ridge with the aim of seeking community assistance with managing this Reserve. A number of volunteers have joined this ParkCare Group which has worked with PCS to realign or close some of the trails in ecologically sensitive areas and repair other trails to prevent erosion. All trails are now being managed to the International Mountain Biking Association specification for sustainable trails.

(7) Rangers patrol nature reserves in Canberra Nature Park. In addition there is ongoing communication with the Recreation Users Group.

(8) The reserves in Canberra Nature Park are patrolled by ranger staff on weekdays and on weekends as part of their duties. Rangers are authorised as conservation officers under the Nature Conservation Act 1980.

(9) A number of unofficial warnings have been given. However, there haven’t been any prosecutions. A strategy of engagement and education is the preferred approach.

(10) Four rangers are rostered to work in Canberra Nature Park each weekend. Rangers undertake a range of duties (e.g. fire standby during summer and urban wildlife) as well as patrolling in nature reserves.

(11) TAMS Parks and Conservation is developing a Trails Strategy for the ACT that considers a range of issues in relation to the provision of recreation trails. At a local scale, PCS has been working with community groups such as the Bruce Ridge ParkCare Group to develop a shared trail system for Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve which is sympathetic to the conservation values of the reserve.

(Question No 1914)

Mr Rattenbury asked the Minister for the Environment and Sustainable Development, upon notice, on 27 October 2011:

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