Nearly two years after fire destroyed more than 60 per cent of the Cudlee Creek Forest, Fox Creek Bike Park has reopened more trails each month since April thanks to cooperation between ForestrySA, local contractors and community groups.
Mountain biking club The Human Projectiles has been one of the many groups involved in the bushfire clean-up and recovery.
Long-time member Charles McNeilage said the group, which was established in the 1990s, has always been integral to the development of the bike park, building new trails with the support of government grants.
“Fox Creek was almost an entirely community-built park,” McNeilage said.
“It was devastating when the bushfire hit.”
He said Human Projectiles worked closely with ForestrySA throughout the recovery efforts, organising working bees and clean-up days around the park.
A recent community working bee saw more than 80 turn up to help.
ForestrySA chief executive Julian Speed said working with the community helps build disaster resilience and long-term sustainability in the recreational and forestry aspects of the park.
“Our community approach has a sharp focus on legacy,” Speed said.
“It creates the opportunities for the community to be involved long-term, including supporting green business startups and volunteer maintenance programs supported by ForestrySA through tools, training and pathways to paid work.”
Before the 2019 Cudlee Creek bushfires, Fox Creek was South Australia’s premier mountain biking destination. With 48km of professional mountain bike trails, the park saw more than 20,000 visitors a year.
In February this year, $2.5 million of Local Economic Recovery support was allocated to the park as part of the National Bushfire Recovery Fund, with the purpose of rebuilding existing trails, enhancing the park’s facilities and infrastructure and developing up to 50km of additional trails.
Speed said the rebuilding of Fox Creek will see the park’s offerings expanded to include more people, including younger children, beginner riders and those with disabilities, as well as building more challenging trails for competitive riders.
The most recent addition to the park is the first adaptive mountain bike (aMTB) trail in South Australia.
Named “Allen’s Orange Whip” after Australian Paralympic cyclist and professional mountain biker Grant Allen, the trail is specifically designed to suit para-cycling bikes. It is the first of three planned aMTB certified trails in the park.
ForestrySA is also working to establish a skills park, set to be the largest and most diverse in South Australia.
Speed said e-bikes are also on the drawing board.
“Electric bikes are the fastest-growing segment of active transport and with the largest transfer of user modes – many walkers are now discovering e-bikes and changing to e-biking as their activity of preference,” he said.
“We’ll be supporting this growth with e-bike specific trails and facilities such as charging stations.”
The final stages of the redevelopment include facilities such as toilets, drinking water taps and shelters as well as connections to the Lenswood and Cudlee Creek townships and integration into the Wine Capital Cycle Trail.
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