Mogo locals have expressed concern about logging near local mountain bike trails which attract tourists to the fire-ravaged town.
The NSW Government and Federal Government recently pledged $5 million to build additional trails where the Forestry Corporation of NSW is proposing to harvest timber.
Avid mountain biker and Friends of the Forest campaigner Nick Hopkins, said forestry’s proposal threatens the popularity of existing and future trails.
“Mountain bikers are almost nature-lovers by definition and will be more inclined to seek out trails in unlogged forests,” he said.
“Because there are so many options opening up around Australia for mountain bikers, any site that’s vulnerable to logging is at a disadvantage.”
Forestry’s proposal suggests logging in compartment 146 of Mogo State Forest could begin anytime between now and October.
The site is 174 hectares in size, however, forestry hasn’t released details about the number of trees that will be harvested.
The proposal could therefore affect the existing trails in the compartment’s south such as Mitchells and the Kona Track, and new trails in the compartment’s north.
“The governments and [Eurobodalla Shire] Council are investing public money in areas that could be logged anytime. No private investor would think about investing such huge sums of money into something that could be compromised at any stage,” said Mr Hopkins.
Eurobodalla Shire Council told Region Media it was aware of the logging plans and was working with forestry.
“Council has been working closely with forestry on the proposed trail network and will continue to do so in the detailed design, construction and ongoing management of the trails, noting that the trails are proposed within a working forest,” said a Council spokesperson.
The council also said logging plans wouldn’t affect funding for future trails.
Forestry also said it was committed to working with the Council and Mogo Local Aboriginal Land Council to develop the new mountain bike network.
It said the new network would be designed to operate alongside ongoing renewable timber harvesting operations.
However, there was no mention of impact to existing trails.
Friends of the Forest campaigners are also concerned about logging starting so soon in forests affected by the Black Summer fires.
Mr Hopkins said logging stalled the forest’s recovery and destroyed even more habitat for wildlife.
Forestry said its operations encompassed protections for wildlife habitat.
However, the NSW Environment Protection Authority revealed forestry had ignored the tighter conditions recommended for fire-affected forests on the NSW South Coast.
Friends of the Forest is campaigning for compartment 146 to be saved for ecotourism, not logging.
The Minister for Regional NSW and Forestry John Barilaro and the Member for Bega Andrew Constance were contacted for comment.