Sustainable Timbers Tasmania have declared that the Krushka’s forests that wrap around the Blue Derby mountain bike trails of the same name are an operational logging coupe. With over 200 businesses signing an open letter to the Tasmanian government asking them to stop native forestry in the area, Sustainable Timbers Tasmania have opted to push on with their planned logging alongside the globally acclaimed mountain bike trail network.

'This comes after years of community and business advocacy to protect the forests around Derby from logging for their carbon values, biodiversity and as the backdrop for the best nature based mountain bike destination in Tasmania,' said Louise Morris from organisation Blue Derby Wild.

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‘We have had more than 200 businesses make it abundantly clear to the Tasmanian government that we want these Gondwana native forests protected. These forests from Krushka’s, to Atlas to the Blue Tier are all open for logging and are undercutting the brand of Blue Derby, and more importantly our local biodiversity, water sources and regional prosperity.’

Earlier this week, there was an announcement that 930ha of forest would be protected, but that doesn't cover the whole Blue Derby network, nor the essential wildlife corridors and waterways in the area.

‘Today highlights what an exercise in greenwash STT’s announcement of a draft Derby precinct plan is that only protects the inner footprint of Derby from any forestry activity. The area in Derby that does not have the forests they want to log, and is the footprint of the old mining activity and where trails criss-cross the town, and would not allow half a bulldozer between each trail.’

Louise Morris went on to explain that the areas left out of the protection, are the areas that need protection the most. This is due to their ecological significance, along with playing a key part in what makes Blue Derby the success that it is on a global scale.

‘STT have kept the forests they want for logging which is the hills and sweeping forests that are the heart of our region's natural assets that draw hikers, walkers and enduro mtb competitions.'

Why is this a problem?

As a reminder, mountain bikers will not lose even 1m of trail to ride. But what is being lost is the environment the trails take you through. While there will be visual buffers between the trails and and forest that is clearfelled and burnt, the ecological impact is massive an irreversible. 

The forests which are Gondwana remnants cannot grow back in the same way, and there will be considerable erosion. Regrowth will tend towards a dry sclerophyll forest type, not the temperate rainforest. This is more fire prone and there is less biodiversity.  Colin Levitch from Flow Mountain Bike put an excellent story together in 2021 which is worth reading for more detail on the impacts.

As a summary, the impacts of the forestry will not just impact the animals that live there, but the soil health for the whole forest, and the appeal for many who come for the complete experience in Blue Derby. There will be a wide reaching environmental and economic impact.

So what can you do?

If you want more details, head to the Blue Derby Wild website, where you can also sign a petition to lobby Premier Peter Gutwein to end native forestry. For more details on the trails at Blue Derby, head to the trail network website.