Illegal mountain bike tracks cause significant environmental damage that costs thousands of dollars to rectify, according to Mornington Peninsula Shire Council. Senior council officer Jessica Wingad said the council had recorded more than 35 illegal tracks with about 10 new tracks reported annually. Ms Wingad said the tracks were being built across the Peninsula and each site cost $10,000 to $30,000 to repair.
“There are a range of significant environmental and social impacts, including destruction of diverse understorey vegetation and damage to trees and shrubs in bushland reserves,” she said. “In key areas, vulnerable flora species have been impacted, including vulnerable orchid species. The tracks also open up larger areas of bushland, which encourages weed encroachment and trampling and removal of vegetation.”
Ms Wingad confirmed there were also many illegal mountain bike tracks on private property and sites controlled by other agencies. Parts of the Arthurs Seat State Park, which is controlled by Parks Victoria, are riddled with illegal mountain bike tracks. “The shire refers any reports on to the appropriate land manager to address,” she said.
Almost 800 people have signed a change.org petition calling for more legal mountain bike and BMX tracks to be constructed on the Peninsula, with some supporters voicing concern that informal tracks were being removed. The council maintains the tracks’ removal is necessary because they could pose an “unacceptable risk” to other park users.