A "solution" to help prevent mountain bikers from using foot trails in a nature reserve has copped immense criticism from angry locals.
The ACT Parks and Conservation Service installed tree log barriers with signage on the "northern and southern sections" of the summit in the Casuarina Walking Trail on Mount Majura following reports of "hikers having close encounters with bikes" despite cycling being prohibited on the track.
"We installed [them] to allow walkers to use the track safely and reduce the risk of collisions with cyclists," an ACT Government spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.
The National Parks Association of the ACT (NPA ACT) — a voluntary advocacy group and charity — has taken a beating after celebrating the move online. The post garnered thousands of reactions from locals accusing the government of "locking" the park up. So intense was the response comments needed to be switched off.
Some furious with trail 'solution'
Despite the rule being in place long before the addition of the log barrier and signs, people from the ACT were quick to condemn the act as a way of "restricting" their fun. "Canberra sucks. No fun is allowed in a state that has limited facilities that are free. Boring!" one person lamented.
"ACT government. If people are enjoying themselves. Better put a stop to it," another agreed.
A few defended the move saying "bike riders hurtle down at speed with no regard to other users" but pointed out that those walking also needed to be told not to go on the bike tracks. "This has to work both ways," one added.
Others questioned the "accessibility" of the trail with the new blockages. "I don’t know the terrain but this type of blockage causes issues to those using off-road style wheelchairs and other disability equipment," a concerned observer said.
Dedicated bike tracks still available in reserve
NPA ACT advocates for the protection of the fauna and flora, scenery, natural features and cultural heritage of ACT parks and reserves, and was baffled when the frustrated comments started rolling in slamming the new signage.
"We were amazed at the response the post generated and really have no explanation for it," NPA ACT president Dr Rosemary Hollow told Yahoo. "Canberra has an extensive network of management trails and multi-use tracks where mountain biking is permitted, including the 140km Centenary Trial and Stromlo Forest Park."
In Mount Majura Nature Reserve itself, cycling is permitted on 20km of roads and management trails as well as in the adjoining reserve Majura Pines recreation area where there are dedicated trails for mountain bike riding.
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