Friends of Grasslands

supporting native grassy ecosystems

PO Box 440
Jamison Centre
Macquarie ACT 2614

email: advocacy@fog.org.au
web: www.fog.org.au

Manager, Planning Evaluation and Assessment
PO Box 95 
Parramatta NSW 2124
email: npws.parkplanning@environment.nsw.gov.au

Dear Sir/Madam

Mount Canobolus State Conservation Area draft plan of management

Friends of Grasslands (FOG) is a community group dedicated to the conservation of natural temperate grassy ecosystems in south-eastern Australia. FOG advocates, educates and advises on matters to do with the conservation of grassy ecosystems, and carries out surveys and other on-ground work. FOG is based in Canberra but has many members in New South Wales. Its members include professional scientists, landowners, land managers and interested members of the public.

The Conservation Area contains a threatened ecological community of interest to FOG, Tablelands Snow Gum Grassy Woodland. As is noted in the plan of management, as well as all the usual threats such as weeds, inappropriate fire frequencies and disturbance due to recreational use, climate change is likely to have a significant impact on this community due to lack of possibility of dispersal to higher (and cooler) altitudes.

If Mount Canobolus is regarded as a conservation area (as it ought to be, given its biodiversity values), then 63 kilometres of mountain bike single-track traversing much of the Conservation Area is highly inappropriate and in the end will have a detrimental impact on the biodiversity values of the whole area While recognising that the intent might be to avoid areas of particular environmental sensitivity with possible mountain bike proposals, a big issue is the level of compliance with any management plan or other requirements once any mountain bike riding is allowed. FOG is concerned that, once mountain bike riding is allowed along some trails, some riders will start to go off the trails or into other areas where riding is prohibited. This will be impossible to police, or even determine that it is happening, particularly with the resourcing levels within NPWS and the plethora of other more urgent management tasks. An analogy might be drawn to dogs in Canberra Nature Park (CNP). Dogs are allowed on-lead in a number of sections of CNP, and many dog owners comply with this. However, there is always a minority who take liberties and allow their dogs to roam freely off-lead in CNP, with consequential disturbance to wildlife. Our concern is that, over time, a similar situation will evolve in sensitive areas of Mount Canobolus if mountain bike riding is permitted at all.

FOG is completely opposed to mountain bike riding being permitted under the management plan for the Mount Canobolus State Conservation Area.

Yours sincerely

 

Geoff Robertson
President

17 September 2018