The project to bring kilometres of new mountain bike trails to the forests outside Eden has reached a milestone, bringing the Far South Coast town closer to becoming a prime destination for biking enthusiasts.
The first trails for the Eden Mountain Bike Hub in Nullica State Forest, west of Eden, are expected to open later this year.
Stage one, comprising 20 new trails totalling 56 km, is projected for mid-2023 completion.
Construction of this stage, contracted to Queensland-based company Contour Works, will kick off in late May with a smoking ceremony and sod turning to officially mark the milestone.
“This multi-million-dollar project will establish Eden and the broader NSW South Coast area as a true mountain biking destination, providing opportunities to attract tourists and investment to the region,” Eden Community Access Centre’s (ECAC) Julian Webb said.
“The hub will also be an important community asset, contributing to employment opportunities and positive health and wellbeing outcomes.”
Eden Chamber of Commerce president Eric Wolske said the hub would help transform the town’s tourism profile from a seasonal one to one that will flourish year-round.
ECAC manager Carina Severs said the town was looking forward to having another industry in Eden that would help keep hospitality businesses afloat during winter.
“It’s going to make a fabulous destination all through the year, not just at Christmas time,” Ms Severs said.
“Winter is generally our quiet time here and the Eden mountain bike trails will certainly fill that gap.
“It’s looking pretty exciting.”
She said the trails would cover 300 m of elevation and will have six creek crossings, including bridges.
The wide variety of trails for riders of all proficiency levels will span from black-rated right down to beginner.
Eden Mountain Bike Club president Stan Soroka said the mountain biking community would be excited to come and ride the new trails.
“Our town and community will benefit not only from having an amazing place to ride but also from the jobs it will generate, the recreational opportunities it will offer and the tourism dollars mountain biking brings to an area,” he said.
Contour Works is known for building the famous Rude Rock Mountain Bike Trail in Queenstown, New Zealand, which has been called one of the most photographed trails in the world.
It has also built tracks in the Smithfield Mountain Bike Park outside Cairns, a well-known rainforest trail network.
Contour Works director and site manager Evan Winton said his team looked forward to creating a unique coastal mountain bike destination.
“The terrain and location have all of the key elements to ensure Eden is well situated to become a must-ride destination,” he said.
The project is funded by $4.5 million from the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund (BLERF), which the Commonwealth and the NSW Governments jointly fund.
Those involved will also begin to look for additional funding for Stage 2, which is expected to include another 50 to 60 km of trail.