The Tathra MTB Club experienced devastating bushfires in their local trail network on March 18 this year. Ground Effect spied it on the news, and the Slush Fund offered cash for when they were ready to remediate the trails. Stacey George from the club has written up a great summary of how the local community has worked together to get the trails fixed. We'll let Stacey take it from here:
"As you know, we have been under a wee bit of pressure to have the 25km of damaged (burnt out) trails back to schmicko before the Tathra MTB Enduro on June 10. A rather large task – but not insurmountable.
Initially the going was slow. We were all in shock and the Bundadung Forest had to be made safe before we were granted access. Then began the process of clearing the tracks. Interestingly the tracks themselves were in reasonable shape – and really obvious in a burnt out lunar like landscape devoid of vegetation. But there was no shortage of trees, trunks and limbs to chainsaw and wrestle off trails!
Two weeks of tree clearing later… we were able to look at the big picture, take a big breath and plan our attack.
The good news is, we have now completed most of the infrastructure works on the Bundadung. We have replaced all 17 burnt bridges with new BRIGHT yellow ones and they are in use again by mountain bike riders.
This is a huge psychological boost, as one of Tathra’s iconic trails was 'The Bridges' – with its twelve big swooping gully drops and maze of bridges.
Your (that's Ground Effect!) contribution facilitated the purchase of 120m of galvanized steel C sections (100 struts and 400 nuts and bolts), which we used to mount the yellow FRP sheeting. The building of these seemed 'easy' in comparison with the removal of the burnt bridges. This was like carrying fibe-glass fairyfloss. Using steel also adds to the longevity of the bridges, making them less appetizing for white ants!
The bridges are only one aspect of the trail recovery and rebuilding process. We’ve also had excavators and bob cats in action, busily rebuilding berms, reworking some of the old trails and creating some new signature features. The hills of Tathra have certainly been alive with the sound of… errrr machinery!
But it’s not just about building bigger and better. It’s also about building sustainably. Over 400m of new track has been built with this aim. To protect the forest and neighbouring wetlands extensive erosion control has also been conducted, and longer term, a bush regeneration program will be undertaken.
The lack of rain (arggghhhhh) has frustrated things, but the Rural Fire Service has come to our aid – as we 'water' in our trails to settle them in.
The public support and volunteering has been amazing. We stage 'Rake N Ride' days to help manage all the offers of assistance, and also to give volunteers the chance to help rebuild the trails they love to ride.
Our first day in April attracted 80 people, which was very humbling. People drove from Sydney and Melbourne to lend a hand, and we managed to rake all 25km of track in less than one hour.
They say “You never know who your friends are until there’s a crisis.” We have learnt, Tathra has many friends.
There’s still plenty of work ahead. But the trails are now safe, fun…..and ready for action.
I have attached some photos. Our Facebook page also charts our progress.
Thank you again for your support,
Tathra MTB Club"