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There is much to learn from the ACT Draft Canberra Mountain Bike Report for Mogo

As the Eurobodalla Council puts out for comment their idea of transforming Mogo State Forest into a mountain bike mecca the ACT government is also asking the near 500,000 residents for their input into mountain biking facility upgrades for the ACT. A draft report with recommendations for the ACT to attract more mountain biking visitors has been released for public comment. Much like the Eurobodalla draft the ACT report includes recommendations on how to also achieve meaningful recreational, social and economic benefits. The Draft Canberra Mountain Bike Report suggests that at least 64,000 overnight domestic visitors ride the mountain bike trail network each year, spending around $30 million in Canberra each year. This is of interest as Eurobodalla offer that, in its first year of operating, the proposed Mogo trails network has the potential to attract 45,000 visitors and will result in over $11.8 million to the local economy  creating ten full time jobs jobs during construction and another twenty full time jobs once operational  with the potential for at least six new business opportunities . Canberra has an established reputation for mountain biking with interstate riders spending around $30 million each year in Canberra saying "The unique combination of high-quality trails, natural scenery, world class attractions, and vibrant cycling culture sets Canberra apart from other mountain bike destinations in Australia. Its proximity to significant source markets such as Sydney and regional NSW and the attraction of the city to international visitors presents a significant opportunity for growth."

Last year the ACT government asked the ACT community for their thoughts on the existing mountain bike experience in the ACT and opportunities to improve it.That feedback has been used to inform the Draft Canberra Mountain Bike Report now out for consultation until Monday 2 November 2020.

The draft report details what was heard at the 2019 stakeholder consultation workshops and includes proposals for where to focus further work and investment to maximise the industry and experience. The ACT government say "We want to know what you think will define Canberra as an exciting mountain biking destination and what features could be enhanced or created to improve mountain bike experiences."

"Canberra is home to strong and growing mountain biking culture. Our region contains a unique diversity of trails that cater for everyone from professional mountain bike riders to first time riders wanting to improve their fitness."

"We will be considering existing mountain bike trail networks and thinking about their connectivity, identity and management. There will also be opportunities to explore options for new trails that enhance mountain bike experiences and consider our local environment and other users."

The Draft Canberra Mountain Bike Report has proposals for where to focus further work and investment to maximise the industry and experience:

  • new aspirational trail experiences and the existing trail network

  • positioning Canberra as Australia’s mountain bike capital

  • coordinating marketing and promotion.

The areas that offer the best potential for the development of new trails are:

  • a new epic trail network at Blue Range in the Uriarra Forest area

  • a new iconic ‘flow trail’ from Stromlo Forest Park to Cotter Recreation Reserve (Stoney Creek Nature Reserve) with a return climb

  • a recreation trail network at Cotter Recreation Area, and

  • a new shared-use trail along the Murrumbidgee Discovery Track.

The Draft Canberra Mountain Bike Report says that "Stakeholders have suggested that investment in the ACT’s trail network has not been keeping up with trail demand and competition from other States and Territories in recent years. This has impacted on Canberra’s potential status as a destination and is reducing its market share of mountain bike tourism." Those interested in the proposed mountain bike concept for the Mogo State Forest might find very informative reading in the Draft Canberra Mountain Bike Report, especially around page 66 in regards to finances.

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