Thursday, 22 May 2014

The loss of unknown trails ...

A few years ago I lost one of my favourite local trails.

It was just one of those short-cut trails, largely known only by local riders, which allowed you to cut across from Mt Nelson to Mt Wellington around the side of Tolmans Hill without having to go the long, hard way right over the top.

The old connector up through the quarry and around the hill.
Most of this will one day be a road and all that was needed was for a gap
to be left between two properties to allow access into the bushland behind.
But the trail was on private property, albeit that it was all bushland, and so when the owner decided to sub divide it, up went the no entry signs and there ended my rides in that direction.

That decision made me really angry at the time, not because I don't respect the owners right to their own land, but because when I saw the subdivision plans for the land it was obvious that if someone, somewhere, had known and cared about public access it would have been so easy to modify the subdivision slightly so that an access corridor, like they have done so well with the Tanagara Trail, could have been included in the subdivision which would have allowed easy passage for walkers and cyclists through the property with no impact on the future owners.

But nobody knew, or nobody cared, or nobody who did could do anything about it so that short cut is now gone ... forever, and I'm just left staring at maps hoping that one day maybe a new connector will be built opening that area back up to me ...

Two days ago, I found out I was about to lose another piece of my favourite local trails.

New property highlighted in yellow, currently all bushland, with the trails roughly shown in red
... And I'll lose them to nearly the same circumstances ... another piece of bushland that adjoins crown land is about to have a new house and helipad (Yes, Mt Nelson is about to get its first helicopter commuter) built on it which, while great for the owner, will mean that all of us who have lived up this way for years and who have become used to walking our dogs, or using this shortcut to the trails behind our houses ... well we're about to lose that access.

It's sad, but at the same time it is what it is and whilst we can jump up and down about it - we can;t change it at this stage.

We've been getting so many new trails built around Tasmania lately (I just heard last night that the Pilchers Hill trail I rode up on the weekend has now been finished) that it seems a bit selfish complaining about the loss of the odd trail here and there, especially as most people don't even know about these trails, but what concerns me is that trails need connectivity and they need to be in the right place...

You just have to see the Buckingham Drive bike lane detour over near Rokeby road to know how a bicycle lane built in the wrong place doesn't get much use.

So I'll look at the excellent examples of how to build multi-use peri-urban infrastructure overseas (and over the river in the Clarence City Council area), I'll advocate for the "right to roam", and even if it sounds like a whinge, I'm still going to lament the loss of my local trails ... even if I am the only one who will miss them.

Good bye little trails.

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