A member reported spotting the following sign in the Jelllore state forest on 11 May. The sign states, “unauthorised access to this trail is prohibited to all vehicles – including motorcycles”.
The member was concerned that the sign related to the recently released NSW Koala Strategy (http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/animals-and-plants/threatened-species/programs-legislation-and-framework/nsw-koala-strategy ) and if it meant changes that would restrict access to registered and licensed trail bike riders from accessing the Belangelo, Jellore and Meryla state forests located in NSW southern Highlands.
We can report that the sign is unrelated to the Koala Strategy. Tim Clarke (National President) has had a chat to the ranger, reporting that they’re not Koala signs. The signs have been placed at Jellore SF over single track in response to land owners complaints about noisy bikes. It is illegal to ride single track in state forests or crown land. The only time it is legal to ride single track is when we have a permit, like Kowen Forest Ride, Sunny Corner TBR & Watagan TBR. Some areas like Belanglo & the Watagan SF appear to tolerate single track riding, it’s still illegal.
The NSW Koala Strategy
The strategy was announced via a press release on the 7th of May 2018 (https://www.nsw.gov.au/your-government/the-premier/media-releases-from-the-premier/koala-strategy-will-save-australias-national-treasure/ ), this is the first that the club had heard of this. The strategy documents are unclear about how the three nominated State Forests/Koala Reserves will be managed in the Southern Highlands (the three forests being Belanglo, Jellore & Meryla) or anywhere else in the state for that matter. At this stage there appears to be no changes to the way the state forests are being managed and we are endeavouring to find out more!
This has been a wake-up call, the club is here to lobby for its members rights to legally access areas for trail riding. We have a good reputation and because of that, have been able to access areas many others cannot.
But, we can’t address issues that we don’t know about!
You are “the eyes and ears” of the club, if you see or hear about closures or other access issues, let your local branch know, they with the support of the national can lobby on your behalf.
Cheers - National Secretary