9 July 2021

Mogo locals worry about the impact of logging on mountain bike tourism

| Hannah Sparks
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'Ecotourism not logging' banner.

Friends of the Forest campaigners are worried about logging encroaching on Mogo’s mountain bike trails. Photo: Friends of the Forest.

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.

Mogo's mountain bike trails

Mogo’s mountain bike trails are growing in size and popularity. Photo: File.

“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.

READ ALSO: Youth input ‘vital’ to Eurobodalla’s Climate Resilience Plan

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.

It’s launched a petition to stop logging in fire-affected forests on the NSW South Coast and printed 1000 flyers to hand out to local businesses and residents.

The Minister for Regional NSW and Forestry John Barilaro and the Member for Bega Andrew Constance were contacted for comment.

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Laurie Gordon2:51 pm 12 Jul 21

Just asking, in view of the current Worldwide and LOCAL “critical” shortage of structural timber’s for new build & repairs to established homes, and the supporting industry jobs this industry supports, SURELY a workable compromise can be-created & maintained t that meets the requirements of all?
As I say just asking?
Love mountain biking , with many family and friends hoked on the joy, however it seems a tad selfish that these possible logging industries are closed or restricted for the enjoyment of a select group.

As I say just asking why cannot a workable compromise be created..

Let’s be clear. The timber which is taken from the forests around Mogo is not destined for structural timber in co structure , it is almost exclusively being sent to the Eden woodchip mill and then exported overseas from Eden. That is the fate of trees from our state forests. The remaining trees in the State forests around Mogo are not big enough in girth to be useful as structural timber. Anyway the construction industry rarely uses hardwood timber now for structural work, it is increasingly using pine and steel or aluminium. The reason for the lack of timber for the construction industry occuring now is that the plantation pine forests in the State were so badly hit by fires- they are the primary source of the structural timber used in the industry.

Change is gonna come2:01 pm 14 Jul 21

hi Laurie,
These are fair questions and ones the community has to chew over with critical thinking. To assist your inquiry can I refer you the National Parks Association document here: https://npansw.org.au/campaigns-2/forests-for-all
Forests For All seeks to protect public native forests and end damaging industrial logging. But the plan is for more than that. The idea is to increase public access to forests for recreation and nature-based tourism. We all want to see regional communities benefit from forests economically, physically and emotionally. And we all want to protect the benefits that forests provide to people: like clean, plentiful water supplies and sucking up CO2. And we want to see our forests restored to health and the wildlife in them thrive.
The case against native forest logging has been building for yeas now. Think of it like the tobacco industry which was critical to the economy of various locations on the planet until the social licence for smoking went into freefall. New agricultural industries evolved in its place. Our native forests form the basis of our Nature Coast branding and already tourism brings more to the economy than logging, fishing and agriculture combined. This trend is growing. It’s not just about mountain biking.

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