Posts tagged coillte
Bad news from the organisers of the MTB Rendezvous:
We are in the unfortunate position of announcing the cancellation of the MTB Rendezvous 2012, due to take place in Knockree Youth Hostel this coming Sunday, 23rdSeptember.
We have received tremendous support for this new format of socialising on a bike, which encompasses all the good things about cycling. Both from the cycling industry in Ireland, the many individuals and cycling clubs looking to participate to the local businesses who welcome cyclist through their doors every weekend.
Unfortunately the success of this novel idea has been its down fall and has brought concerns from the forestry state body Coillte regarding access to their lands and the byelaws covering this. Due to these concerns we will not be continuing with the Rendezvous.
As organisers of the Rendezvous, our sole objective was to provide a social lunch for all who arrived at Knockree by which ever means they wished. It has never been to organise the routes anyone cycled.
Keen cyclist as we are, we are not members of any Cycling Ireland club, nor was this a competitive event. However the threat hanging over future Cycling Ireland events on Coillte land has been too great. We respect Coillte’s concerns and the byelaws governing their forests and access and do not want to jeopardise any future MTB events with the possibility of substantial numbers of cyclists on their land.
So I would ask all cyclists to do what you do every Sunday and enjoy your biking in designated trails. Thank you again for the interest you have shown in Rendezvous.
With regard to the MTB Rendezvous planned for Sunday 23rd September 2012, Cycling Ireland would like to advise riders that this is a not a Cycling Ireland sanctioned event and no permit has been issued by Coillte for the event.
Riders are advised that cycling on the Wicklow Way or Dublin Way is not permitted, and cycling is only permitted on designated cycle routes on Coillte property or with appropriate permit.
In conjunction with the official Coillte MTB trails, there is some great and very scenic cycling on the roads leading to Knockree, so riders are reminded to plan ahead and ensure they do not violate any bye-laws or cycle on lands not designated or permitted for the purpose.
Riders are reminded to review the Coillte Offroad Cycling Strategy (alternately see extract below):
Coillte retain the right not to permit events organised by clubs whose members choose to ignore directions set down by Coillte on use of designated areas only for cycling or who have demonstrated a lack of respect for the resource made available to them or who have not adhered to the conditions of previous permits issued.
Byelaws were introduced in 2009 under the 1989 Forestry Act to govern use of the lands and it prohibited certain activities. The byelaws were introduced as a management tool to help with reducing the level of safety issues from the inappropriate use of trails and roads, to manage conflict between different visitor groups to Coillte lands and to control unauthorised activities that can cause nuisance, environmental damage or be a source of risk to other users and employees.
This byelaw is now in place on a substantial part of the estate and defines that cycling is not allowed except in areas and on routes designated for cycling.The use of byelaws to restrict the act of using a bicycle on a part of the lands deemed unsuitable is just one part of a number of measures to manage and encourage responsible behaviour. The byelaw (as it relates to cycling) will remain in place and the issues highlighted will be addressed through this strategy.
Failure by cyclists and others to comply with officially posted notices or instructions will result in removal of permissions and permits.
Coillte have made their new off-road strategy available on the Coillte Outdoors website. You can view the document here.
This strategy has major implications for mtb access and development around the country so it’s well worth taking the time to read though it.
Please see the response from the Offroad Commission here.
Coillte’s National Mountain Bike/Off-Road Cycling Strategy
As you may be aware, Coillte are in the process of launching their National Mountain Bike Strategy. The strategy has been in development for quite some time and involved numerous groups and stakeholders, including ourselves. We would like to explain the extent of our involvement in the process and our views on the final document – the positive opportunities it presents and also its shortcomings.
Over the past year we have been a member of the Strategy Project Group, working proactively with Coillte on certain aspects of the strategy. While initial relations between ourselves and Coillte were quite positive and our contributions were welcomed, late last year relations deteriorated significantly. Coillte are now refusing to engage with us any further on the strategy and are pushing ahead with a document that we are not 100% happy with.
There are several positive aspects to the strategy document. It deals very proactively with the areas of trail centres and club-based building projects. We cannot fault it in this regard and it is more positive than we initially expected. Coillte make it clear that they wish to see many more trail centres built, obviously contingent on funding. They will look to build a large number of facilities at new locations and to significantly reinvest in some of the facilities already in place.
Coillte have made it quite clear that they want to work with registered clubs to start local trail building projects. They have identified nineteen forest properties where they are ready to start dealing with clubs immediately on projects. They also make it clear that this list will evolve as new areas become popular and the scene develops. In the past, getting these types of projects started has been quite hard and we believe this strategy has dealt with possible issues making it far easier to get this type of project moving in future. In fact, pilot projects are already underway with more due to start in the not too distant future.
However, some aspects of the strategy are less than satisfactory. Firstly there are minor annoyances. There are references to bikes causing user safety issues and erosion. This is frustrating because it is largely untrue, but other than mentioning them as a reason why proper trail planning is important, no further mention is made so, other than the aggravation it will cause responsible riders, this issue is not critical.
The real shortcoming of the strategy is the whole area of general access and the bye-laws. Coille introduced bye-laws in 2009 which effectively ban mountain biking from their lands, except under permit. It was hoped that this strategy would offer a workable solution to the problems the bye-laws present to the mountain bike community. The strategy reiterates that the bye-laws are in place but doesn’t suggest any measure which deals with casual access, other than at a very low level in some forest parks.
The issue of the bye-laws and the whole area of general access was the principal motivation for us to get involved in the development of this strategy. The fact that it has not been dealt with leaves us in a situation where we will struggle to reconcile the reality of day to day Mountain biking in Ireland to Coillte’s position on general access.
Despite the concerns mentioned above, we would encourage clubs and individual bikers to embrace the positive aspects of the strategy. Apart from the possibility of new trail centres, clubs will now have the opportunity to legitimise their trails in popular areas. These are significant steps forward and will help ensure that our sport has a positive long-term future.
Cycling Ireland Off Road Commission.
An update from Coillte Outdoors:
Forest operations of windrowing brash close to MTB Trails at Ballinastoe.
Forest operations in the way of windrowing brash has started on a clearfelled section, this is to facilitate new planting that will be commencing shortly, please note there might be small section closures as a result. For your health and safety please respect these closures and do not approach any machinery.
Following a recent call for submissions to the Coillte MTB Strategy, concerns have been raised in some quarters regarding the level of involvement of the mountain bike community in communications with Coillte, as well as other landowners, and also relating to the level of progress to date and the value of continued dialogue. While it is not practical to deal with all the various points here, I want to give an overview of where we are and suggest a mechanism for addressing specific concerns and communicating information going forward.
While there have been some notable steps forward over reason years, and much progress has been made, it is an undeniable fact the progress in certain areas has been slow and fraught with issues. Instead of going through a litany of successes and failures I will explain where things stand at this moment in time and how we plan to progress them forward.
At this moment in time a panel (which includes us) is in the final stages of drafting a Coillte Mountain Bike Strategy. This Strategy will provide a framework to deal with many of the issues we face while biking on Coillte property. While many elements have not been finalised, the Strategy will deal with areas such as future purpose built trail developments, local involvement with clubs in trail building projects and mechanises that will help us to deal with the imposition of the infamous bye-laws. While at this point we can’t go into much of the detail on a public forum we can assure you that Coillte have been fully engaged with us, acknowledging our concerns and quite active in trying to find workable solutions.
While having a National Strategy that specifically deals with our concerns is a landmark achievement, it is at the end of the day a document. Its implementation and delivery on the ground will determine both it’s relevance and whether or not it will prove to be a success. While elements of it cannot be tested until it is agreed and launched, some can be progressed now. With this in mind we are trying to progress some trail building projects. Those of you who have been involved for a number of years will know that we have had a number of attempts at projects to date, some proving to be a success and paving the way, other have become stalled and others unfortunately have failed. The one positive coming from the issues is that there is now a reasonably clear formula for what will make a successful project. Many of the issues that have caused issues in the past have been looked at and a project has been selected as a test of the new process. It is progressing well and we would hope to have positive news to share on it very shortly.
Obviously trail projects are just one issue and Coillte is just one of the landowners we have experienced difficulties with, there are many more stakeholders and many more issues – far too many to address in this communication.
To help inform people of the various issues and difficulties we have created a FAQ section of the MBI site where people can view answers to questions they post.
. We will try to address the various concerns as best we can and take any suggestions on board. Following from this we may organise some open forum meetings to address any consistent issues and discuss more openly some of the more divisive areas.
As always we are looking for people to get involved and help out. The process we are involved in a long one and has at times been incredibly difficult, it is always refreshing to have new ideas and to get enthusiastic people involved. If you wish to get involved and help out let us know (via email or phone).
Mobile: 087 9854445
The CI Offroad Commission is currently making submissions to Coillte regarding a draft National Mountain Bike Strategy.
While we are confident we are aware of many of the key hotspot areas for mountain bike activity, there may be areas of Coillte lands being use that we are not aware of.
If you are a local club active in an area that you feel we may not be aware of please email firstname.lastname@example.org, with details of both your club and the location.
The purpose of this exercise is to gain a better understanding of the level of activity across Coillte lands and to form the basis of a frame work which may lead to future trail development at both local and national level.
All information will of course be treated as confidential and will not be used for any form of punitive reasons.
There is quite a tight deadline which we have to work to so as far as possible could you please send submissions by Sunday 30th October.
If you feel you would like to make a submission but have concerns please feel free to contact Sean Herlihy at 087 9854445 to discuss.
CI Offroad Commission
From Coillte Outdoors:
Remedial work on the single track parts of the Ballinastoe MTB trail will commence on Monday the 26th September and will be ongoing for 3 weeks until the 14th October, please note there will be rolling section closures as a result. For your health and safety please respect these closures and do not approach any machinery.
Sorry for the inconvenience – but it will be well worth it.
Following feekback from trail-users, repair work and modifications will be carried out on Ticknock. The outward section of the Ticknock MTB loop (“Metro 2″) will be temporarily closed for maintenance from 19th-23rd September. Please obey signage and stay off this section of trail during the duration of the works.
You can see a map of this section here.