Maybe you have these dreams like I do.
It's the final year of school, you're sitting for the final exam of a subject that challenged you ( for me - Specialist Maths ) and you haven't studied. How is that possible?! So you sit on that hard seat, ill prepared, cold sweat trickling down your chest, the shakes and then - you wake up.
I was dreaming of the proposed Warburton Mountain Bike Destination and its 177km of professionally built trails, only an hours drive from the big smoke of Melbourne. This dream however, was a nightmare. I was in an office, the flouresent lights flickered, and my feet felt stuck to the floor. The Minister for Planning had given his decision and the project had been abandoned because no one had made a positive submission. Not a single rider, business owner, or resident!
Just like that, the Disneyland of Dirt that could have been - vanished.
With sweaty palms I sent an old mate an email to tell all and sundry to give 5 minutes to throw a virtual shovel in the ground and make this project a reality, and I'll cut and paste it for you in the hope you'll give up a fraction of your day, your life, to reap a lifetime of benefit.
Thanks in advance.
Let me remove my FYXO helmet and put the Yarra Ranges Council hard hat on.
For the last 4 months I've been working in the project team for the Warburton Mountain Bike Destination
. In 2020/21, due to COVID canceling Melburn Roobaix, I took the opportunity to apply to be a full-time MTB Trail Builder in the first dedicated MTB Trail team of its kind by any council in Australia - and was successful!
Suggestion for band names welcome.
You can checkout some of the antics in my insta stories here
and some snaps from my phone below.
I cannot understate how much I learned about trail design and construction during my time in the team, working under tutelage of the incredibly talented Gus
of World Trail
The experience was highlighted by the rebuilding of 'Hey Hey My My' - an existing trail that we hope will become part of the project trail network.
I would love to share my experience as a Professional Trail Builder - but there's bigger fish to fry today.
I'm back in the Yarra Ranges team, this time with a communications cap on to help 'spread the word' and garner support from those who will get to enjoy it - which is why I write to you, lover of the outdoors, bikes, and Australia!
The proposed Warburton Mountain Bike Destination project
is only an hour from Melbourne (and my house) and will be a Disneyland of Dirt for MTBs. 61 trails, 177km (100+ miles) in length, and the marque trail will have 1000m (3300ft) elevation DROP over its 24km descent, winding its way through a truly incredible landscape that you'd love to photograph!
Maybe this project has come across your radar previously, because it is the first MTB trail of its kind
to require an Environment Effects Statement (EES)
, a comprehensive 3500 page report that has taken months AND millions to complete. It is currently on public exhibition which is the public's opportunity to comment for consideration by the Minister for Planning to make a final decision if
it will go ahead.
Squeaky wheels get the oil! It would be a travesty if the MTB community in Australia, and abroad stayed quiet and assume it will go ahead. The fact that an EES has been required highlights the opposition to this proposed project.
I know Australia has been on your radar to visit again, and how much better the experience would be if you get to ride it when it opens.
Pitch your virtual shovel in the ground, go to this website
and make it clear what MTBing means to you, and why the project should go ahead.
It'll take you 5 minutes for a lifetime of benefit that will be FREE to enjoy!
Here's my Top 10 reasons why this project will be an amazing asset and legacy:
- Riding trails is the safest 'road' I know and it's car free.
- I spend too much on bikes and want amazing places to ride them.
- COVID isolation highlighted how important riding with mates is.
- This will be a great reason for all my foreign friends to come visit - make sure you come for Melodie's Friday night Pizza's.
- The impact on flora and fauna of creating a narrow strip of singletrack is minimal as the extensive biodiversity report shows.
- A formal network, professionally built, will decrease the likelihood of illegally made, unsustainable trails.
- The project is estimated to bring $48m dollarbux to the area annually - maybe more if we all spread the word.
- This project, along with others will make the Yarra Ranges a mecca for two-wheeled recreation and fertile ground for future champions on the dirt.
- For me - riding Mountain Bikes is the best mental health maintenance I know and when I ride, the worries of the world don't seem so heavy.
- My earliest thrill on two wheels was MTBing and I couldn't imagine my life without those experiences, connecting with people and the land.
Thanks as always for your support and look forward to shredding with you in the future.