New bike trails start to take shape
WORK has begun on Kyogle's first family-friendly mountain bike trail network, in Boorabee State Forest just a short drive out of town.
A small group of committed local mountain bikers from the newly incorporated Kyogle Mountain Bike Club are spending much of their spare time with shovels in hand to construct the track.
The final product will feature 12 trails of different grades weaving their way through the scenic back country surrounding Fairymount with stunning views west from the ridgeline.
The first three trails are expected to open by the middle of next year.
The remainder could take a few years more, but it's hoped a grant may be secured to fund earthmovers to speed things up.
While the network will be a great boon for Kyogle locals, it also the first step towards a local mountain bike tourism industry.
The sport is currently experiencing a boom in popularity and the Northern Rivers is behind the trend, with trail networks already established in state forests in the Coffs Harbour region and further south.
Forestry Corporation partnerships coordinator Justin Black helped facilitate the permits for the tracks around Coffs with local clubs there and said mountain bikers made great tourists.
"I've seen families travel from Newcastle and Tamworth to use these tracks. It's a real family activity too," he said.
"This is a brilliant vision."
Kyogle Council tourism officer Malcolm Wallis said the ultimate plan was for mountain bike trails to encompass the entire local government area, linking Kyogle to the scenic Toonumbar Dam, plus Woodenbong and Urbenville and Bonalbo.
"Mountain bikers spend on average $160 a day," Mr Wallis said.
"If we can get that money into the villages, that will definitely benefit them and provide new opportunities for accommodation providers and the like."
He said the potential for Kyogle as an outdoor tourism destination was still untapped
"When people come here they realise how beautiful it is and the potential for world-quality track and trail development."
Kyogle has recently partnered with Gold Coast City Council, Tweed Shire Council, and Scenic Rim Council (Beaudesert) as part of a long-term "Green Cauldron" regional tourism push, with plans for interstate trails.