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2011 IMBA Australia Retrospective

2011 was a tough year and community updates were few and far between. Nonetheless, IMBA Australia was extremely busy during the year, working to provide more trails for more Australians. And before we get too far down the trail in 2012, it seemed only sensible to inform the MTB community about our achievements during 2011.

A big part of what we do is producing and facilitating Trail Workshops for Australian communities. These workshops are designed to provide land managers, trail advocates and dedicated trail builders with a basic level of knowledge and skills to develop, build and maintain trails in their region. The ultimate intention being that we can enhance the capacity of large and small Australian communities to get trail access underway in their region as well as ensure they have the ability to maintain and protect those trails well into the future. It is about a implementing a model of “trail stewardship” where locals can take pride in their own trails as well as meet the expectations and requirements for sustainability and risk minimisation. During 2011 IMBA Australia travelled far and wide to provide 2 day workshops in:

  • Albury Wodonga (NSW / Vic) – conducted by Tony Boone, IMBA International Specialist
  • Atherton Tablelands (Qld) – Partnered with Troy Rarick from Over the Edge Sports (Fruita, USA)
  • Dwellingup (WA) – in association with Dafydd Davis (Wales, UK)
  • Kalamunda (WA)
  • Lysterfield (Vic) – Pump Track development
  • Melrose (SA) – in association with Tony Boone
  • Pt Macquarie (NSW) – in association with Tony Boone
  • Warburton (Vic) – conducted by Tony Boone, IMBA International Specialist

Specialist workshops were held at:

  • Bundanoon (NSW) – 4 day intensive “Trail Building Master Class” with Tony Boone
  • Cudlee (Fox) Creek Forest (SA) – 5 days of specialist Trail Care Crew Leader Training with assistance from Justin Sexton (now Mitcham City Council Trails Officer). Spread over 5 weekends this training has been funded by ForestrySA.

IMBA Australia has also been busy making formal presentations to land managers and other key stakeholders in the business of trails. In 2011 IMBA Au presented to the following groups:

  • Australian Alps Programs consisting of Park Staff and Rangers from NSW, Vic and ACT
  • 2011 Australian Cycling Conference in Adelaide
  • Alice Springs Town Council
  • 2011 Trails Australia Tracks and Trails Conference (Sydney Olympic Park)
  • Gold Coast city Council
  • Crown Lands and Stakeholders @ Albury (info session)
  • Albury Wodonga MTB Club (evening info session)
  • Velo Mondial international organising committee
  • Queensland Rangers Association Annual Meeting (Rainbow Beach HQ)

These presentations are significant in their ability to engage with the executive level in land management agencies to give them the tools and understanding they need to manage MTB in their part of the world. From these presentations, positive working partnerships have been established and an awareness of IMBA Australia’s role in finding solutions to trail issues is now formalised with those groups. IMBA Australias credibility with land management agencies continues to grow.

Trail Audits have been a solid stream of work and income for IMBA Australia during 2011, as well as enabling us to employ casual staff to assist in field work and reporting. These trail audits are extremely important for land managers and communities because they provide an objective “snap shot” of how existing trails are performing in relation to sustainability and safety. Often, local trail projects cannot proceed until this work is completed. During 2011 IMBA Australia worked in the following areas to provide professional assessments of existing trails:

  •      Nail Can Hill, Albury (NSW)
  •      Cudlee (Fox) Creek Forest, Adelaide Hills (SA)
  •      Colquhoun State Forest, adjacent Lakes Entrance (Vic)
  •      Eagle MTB Park, Adelaide (SA)
  •      Kuranda DH Track, Cairns (Qld)
  •      Livingstone State Park, adjacent Wagga Wagga (NSW)
  •      Kalamunda Circuit, Perth Hills (WA)
  •      Wayne Richards Park, Pt Macquarie (NSW)

IMBA Australia has also been engaged in high level Trail Design Projects at:

  •          Livingstone State Park – 10km shared use trail loop
  •          Hornsby Shire MTB Park (Old Mans Valley)
  •          Sturt River Linear Trail Feasibility for Dept of Environment and natural Resources (DENR), SA
  •          Cobblers Creek Rec Park (DENR, SA) trail network assessment and design
  •          Re-design of Commonwealth Games Track (Lysterfield) – NOT USED by Parks Vic

But it’s not all talk! IMBA Australia also got down and dirty on some minor design and construction projects associated with clubs, workshops and the Dozer Project. IMBA Au designed and built trails can now be found at Lysterfield (Vic), Cudlee (Fox) Creek (SA) and Mt Lennard /Pile Rd (WA). We are also proud that the Pump Track at Lysterfield that was designed by IMBA Au and built with help from TrailMix, the Lysterfield District Riders and Parks Vic is working really well and now forms part of a solid little pocket park below the Lysterfield Lake dam wall.

Trail Dozer Project or rather “Tony Boone Trails Down Under Initiative” certainly helped to keep IMBA Au busy towards the end of 2011. Tony’s long association with Sutter Equipment enabled him to encourage the company to send a 5 ton, purpose built trail building dozer to Australia with the aim of building some nice wide flow trails, as well as potentially reducing trail building costs in Oz and providing Australian trail building contractors with the option of using the dozer on certain projects. Well as they say nothing worth doing is easy, and no matter how clean your dozer is Australian Customs will always find the dirt, as they should, protecting our borders and all. Next time, we will ship a new dozer! Anyway, once here the dozer, driven by Master Trail Builder Tony Boone has completed some great new trails in Lysterfield and Lithgow in the Blue Mountains. This is but a taste of things yet to come because Sutter have agreed to lease the Dozer to IMBA Australia in 2012 so we can hire it out to Aussie trail builders and communities so they can make their dirty trail dreams come true.

So now all we need to do is keep that momentum moving forward in 2012 and set the business foundations for future growth. IMBA Australia needs to spread its wings and leave the MTBA nest (metaphorically speaking). Challenges related to the IMBA Au website and on line membership (frustratingly) remain but with some solid time in the office during February, these issues should be resolved it the coming weeks.  All in all, this is the third year for IMBA Au and it is clear that it will be a time of consolidation, refinement and considered growth. IMBA Australia Membership is currently sitting around 500 members which is set to expand along with a range of benefits and discounted merchandise due to become available this year.

Thanks to everyone for their support in 2011.

 

 

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