Parks Victoria is in the process of amending the existing Management Plan for Lysterfield Park, to reflect changes in park visitation and use. They are now seeking feedback from the community on valued features of the park and opportunities for improvement. LDTR is highly supportive of the management plan review, seeing this as an opportunity for greater recognition of mountain biking in the park and an opportunity to improve the trail network and wider mountain bike facilities. As such, we encourage all club members (and mountain bike users of the Lysterfield Park) to complete the user survey to help guide the revision of the Management Plan. This should take no more than 10 minutes (depending on your passion!)
(Consultation closes 26th January, 2020)
The LDTR has been advocating for the improvement and expansion of the MTB trails in Lysterfield. The review of the Management Plan is a critical stage in this process and could either facilitate or hinder this work. It’s important that Parks Victoria hears from as many MTB riders as possible. Details of the efforts of LDTR are provided below, along with what LDTR consider as potential threats and the action you can take to help advocate for a better ride experience.
Background to LDTR advocacy
In May 2018 LDTR submitted an exciting proposal to Parks Victoria to significantly improve the mountain bike experience in Lysterfield Park. The intention was to increase the mix of available trails, to more appropriately reflect rider demand and the types of bikes people are now riding. Industry feedback and surveys conducted by LDTR suggest a preference for more challenging descent trails, along with a longer intermediate trail (to take the load off the most primary loop at Lysterfield, Buckle- Middle– Redgum – Hug). Additionally, the club intended to add an all abilities beginner loop, given that our current beginner loop is mostly made up of vehicle tracks or easy intermediate rated trail. At the same time, we proposed to Parks Victoria: i) the formalization of the informal trails to the north of Wellington Road; ii)the addition of a number of linking tracks and iii) an expansion of the skills park (rather than a simple rebuild). All up there were 24 trails in the proposal, of varying length. The intention was to use professional trail builders for all new trails.
In Early 2019, after many meetings between Parks Victoria and LDTR, Parks Victoria agreed to 7 of the 24 trails proposed. These were: an inner beginner loop; a short climbing trail in the granite link area; a descent trail from the trig point to the top of Aneurism; Top of SMBC climb to trig point link (already an informal trail); juniors mini race loop next to the race village; A link trail from Middle to the bottom of Aneurism; and the Montague link to café (already ½ built). Two more trails were approved however they were heavily modified from the original concept and include many vehicle tracks, and one is a shared use trail. The skills park expansion was also declined in full, with no suitable explanation as to why.
LDTR believe the missing trails are a big oversight in recognizing what people want to ride and the link to the types of informal trails being built in the park, that is blue/black rated descending type trails. Of the 7 descending trails proposed by LDTR, only one has been approved in full and another approved with the inclusion of vehicle tracks and the designation as shared use trail, meaning it would be unlikely to have MTB specific features (e.g. jumps) for safety reasons.
Concerns of the Management Plan revision
As part of the Management Plan update, Parks Victoria is reviewing the existing zones and overlays in the park. LDTR is greatly concerned by the proposed amendments, which if adopted, would prohibit the meaningful expansion of the mountain bike trail network. LDTR considers this unreasonable, believing the proposed overlay: i) does not truly represent the value of the biodiversity in the park; ii) fails to acknowledge that trails can be designed to avoid biological or culturally significant locations and built and maintained with limited disturbance; and iii) does not reflect the high demand for mountain biking and new mountain bike trails in the Park.
LDTR carefully considered the current overlays as detailed in the existing Management Plan when planning our trail expansion, avoiding all Special Protection Area ( SPA). In the new overlays proposed for the revised Management Plan, the SPA will increase from 39.7ha to 926.9ha, an increase of 2234%, and will cover almost 50% of the park.
The current and draft overlays can be downloaded on the same page as the survey
LDTR recently commissioned Price Waterhouse Coopers to undertake an economic impact assessment of our proposed extension of MTB Trails in Lysterfield. This study showed a positive Benefit-cost ratio of a massive 2.95, with multiple economic, social and health benefits. (link to assessment). Feel free to use any of the findings of this report when completing the PV survey.
As mountain biking is increasingly recognised for its tourism potential, the amount of investment in regional areas for the sport has skyrocketed, especially compared to equivalent investment in metropolitan areas. LDTR believes Lysterfield Park is well positioned to cater to this rising demand and continued growth of the sport, however, investment is required. Lysterfield park has the largest existing demand and is the closest trail network to the CBD, yet it has the smallest trail length relative to the size of the park. This demonstrates both desirability of the park and the potential for the expansion.
Here are some key findings from the report:
- A benefit to cost ratio of 2.95! 2.7 Million investment - 2.2 Million upfront with a 55K recurrent annual funding for Parks Victoria. - LDTR acknowledges the need for continued maintenance of the proposed and existing trails.
- The top three reasons why we ride Mountain Bikes are for Mental Health, Social benefits and to ride with the family. Our proposed investment is predicted to attract more than 2,800 news riders to the park.
- MTBA has seen a 267% increase in memberships in Victoria from 2010 to 2015 and LDTR a 75% increase in members over the past three years!
- Did you know 9 of the top 10 most ridden MTB trails in Australia are at Lysterfield?
What can you do?
In The Survey
Provide PV with feedback in the survey to maintain the current overlays on the park, this will ensure any future trail proposals – from any user group - have even a chance to see the light of day.
Ask PV to reconsider LDTR’s trail expansion proposal in full, including the significant skills park expansion and the need for many more blue/black rated descending trails.
Fill out the survey by Jan 26th!!
Email – Asking for their support of the LDTR trail expansion
Contact your local MP and ask for their support the two key MP’s in the parks area are: