Plan in place for mountain bike network

FORREST riding enthusiasts and residents will team up with government groups to ensure the sport keeps growing in the region.

More than 22,000 riders have used the 66-kilometre network of trails in the Forrest area annually since the trails were completed in 2007, including world-class riders like Jason English and Peta Mullens.

Colac Otway Shire Council, including councillor Stuart Hart, will lead a steering group to develop a strategic plan for the Forrest mountain bike trails.

Other representatives on the committee include council staff, Department of Sustainability and Environment staff, Colac and district community, tourism and mountain biking representatives.

Mayor Brian Crook said the steering group would work closely with the DSE, which was responsible for managing the Forrest mountain bike trails and associated facilities.

“This plan will establish a vision for the future development of the trails, taking into account infrastructure needs, environmental impact, tourism opportunities and the social impact of development and the growth of Forrest that will result as a consequence,” he said.

“This long-term strategic plan will guide investment in the trails and act as a blueprint for future funding applications.”

Improving tourism is one of the major aims of Forrest Mountain Bike and Cycling Club, which member Norm Douglas said was one of the main factors behind the inaugural Forrest Festival last month.

The trails host major cycling events including the Forrest Festival and the Otway Odyssey, one of the most gruelling one-day mountain bike events in the world.

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