New north-east MTB tracks start in early 2019

Break O’Day Council has announced that World Trail will build two new mountain bike tracks at St Helens and Bay of Fires starting in early 2019, according to The Examiner newspaper.

World Trail is known for its popular Derby tracks but has also built tracks at Atherton forest and Smithfield in Queensland, Falls Creek and Mt Buller.  It also designed the two proposed trails.

The 46 km Bay of Fires Descent, between Poimena and Swimcart Beach, and 66 km St Helens Stacked Loop Network, with a trailhead at Flagstaff Road, are estimated to cost $4.5 million.

The St Helens project includes ten loop trails, three descent trails and a 3.52 km easy riding link between the trail head and St Helens. All the trails are linked and can be ridden from the trailhead or St Helens and range in difficulty from “easy” to “most difficult”.

The trail head will include 40 car spaces and 6 shuttle bus bays, toilet block, bike wash station, two BBQ shelters, short loop skills track, grassed areas and picnic benches.

The Bay of Fires Descent starts in the Blue Tier Forest Reserve at the old mining town of Poimena. This is also the start of the current Blue Tier mountain bike trail which runs west to Weldborough.

The single track would use 500 metres of existing trail, logging and access tracks and a disused water race to arrive not far north of Binalong Bay, along Gardens Road.

Both tracks received representations against them during the development application process because of environmental concerns including the potential spread of the deadly native plant disease Phytopthora cinnamomi and impact on threatened species, including sea eagles.

Other representations were concerned about inadequate car parking, impact on existing walking trails and cost of maintaining tracks, amongst other issues.

The Council sought the advice of an environmental consultant and decided to proceed with both tracks.

Federal government funding of $1.35 million has been provided to the project through a regional jobs and investment program, because of the potential for the tracks to support tourism jobs.