See how the MTB industry is looking after our planet!
And what about the trails we ride?
One of the biggest mountain bike trail projects in Australia has to be Maydena Bike Park. Nestled into the wilderness that is Tasmania's south-west, the mountain bike park has a truly wild setting. Surely, Tasmania's militant left would have been up in arms about the development?
“We're very cognisant that any trail we build has an impact.” said Simon French of Dirt Art. What helped with planning and approval was the fact that the site for Maydena Bike Park had already seen forestry activity, and about 50% of the land had been forested at some stage. And given there was a building at the summit, the land had been given a recreation overlay, which has mountain biking as a permissible activity.
However, a key part of the planning for Maydena Bike Park involved engaging other groups. Reaching out to them in the planning stage so there wasn't negative feedback in the construction stage.
“We reached out to the Wilderness Society and the Bob Brown Foundation amongst others,” explained French, who also said they received great support. “We did fully independent flora and fauna surveys, for endangered species.” They needed to look for Wedge Tail Eagle nests and habitat for the Tasmanian Devil. And given the snow gums and limestone cave system up higher, they only ended up putting one trail in off the summit, despite planning for more.
Laying out the trail system was another challenge, but one made easier with their research data, vegetation mapping and understanding of where certain flora and fauna were.
“We aim to have a minimal disturbance on flora and fauna, and needed to block out certain areas. It made a patchwork to weave trails through, something you can see if you look at a trail map,” explains French.
The Dirt Art trail crews then operate under strict guidance, with protocols on what the maximum tree size they can remove is, plus always checking for Tasmanian Devil dens. Lower down the mountain there was more scope to change the trails as well. Given the lower area had been heavily forested, using bigger excavators for jump lines wasn't a problem – as the terrain was so disturbed. But up the top and in the mid section it's quite different.
If you have been on the trails at Maydena Bike Park you will understand how wild it feels, and that's something that French says he gets a lot of feedback on from visiting high profile riders. Lots of riders really engage with the connection to the wilderness, as so often gravity trails are in environments that are more disturbed, like in a ski resort. But Maydena Bike Park manages to showcase the landscape without disturbing the sensitive areas.
We hope to see further trail developments follow this example, thereby letting a greater number of people get up close to wilderness areas, without impacting them.
9 ways you can reduce your impact
1. Pack a pump and not CO2 for your next ride.
2. Buy your lube and sealant in bulk, to reduce packaging.
3. Ditch the aerosols, and use a pressure pump pack.
4. Ride local – where can you ride from home?
5. Share your ride – if you are driving to the trails, why not carpool with mates?
6. Support ethical businesses who are working towards being more sustainable.
7. Choose high quality products that don't just last one season.
8. Make more trips by bike – your mountain bike can take you to more places than just cool trails!
9. Don't short cut trails – this increases the need for maintenance, and can create unnecessary erosion.
10. Upskill your maintenance – you can really extend your bike's service life by knowing when to service it, and how.
What about AMB?
Our printer IVE is based in Sydney, which means we don't have our magazines printed offshore with lower environmental restrictions and an increased amount of freight. IVE adheres to the ISO 14001 Environment certification, and are part of the Program for Endorsement of Forest Certification and the Forest Stewardship Council chain of custody certification. They only partner with suppliers who meet the sourcing standards such as SA8000, WCA, BSCI and SMETA. So this all covers minimising environmental impact, promoting sustainable forestry and avoiding deforestation of tropical forests. Their suppliers also meet social certifications about fair employment practices throughout a supply chain.
Our publisher, Next Media, tracks the circulation of magazines, making sure newsagents aren't oversupplied with copies of the magazine. Unsold copies are no longer returned and need to be recycled locally, which reduces freight. Sales data is continually monitored so over supply of magazines is already very limited.
If you want to make sure you're part of reducing waste, why not subscribe? There is no over supply, plus you save a bit of money. Alternatively, any newsagent can request a single copy of any magazine, to keep for a customer. So if you can't find AMB locally, just ask.