Since 2015 National Parks and Wildlife Service has been working with Wollongong City Council and other stakeholders to provide a sustainable mountain bike track network that protects the environmental and cultural values of the Illawarra Escarpment and provides opportunities for mountain bike riders.
The demands and impacts of mountain biking on the Illawarra Escarpment continue to increase. Many tracks provide a good riding experience, but their condition, safety and sustainability vary greatly. The safety, environmental and cultural impacts of mountain bike tracks and ad hoc track development need to be addressed to ensure the activity is sustainable on the Illawarra Escarpment into the future.
In 2018 an initial concept plan followed by the Draft Illawarra Escarpment Mountain Bike Strategy sought to address the need for sustainable mountain biking at Mount Keira and Mount Kembla and Balgownie. Public feedback on the strategy suggested that there needed to be greater consideration given to natural and cultural values and, in particular, to remove mountain bike tracks from Mount Keira. In 2020, a revised network in the Mount Kembla area was developed that excluded Mount Keira.
In June 2021, the NSW Government announced funding for the Illawarra Escarpment Mountain Bike Network to complete planning and assessment, finalise the Illawarra Escarpment Mountain Bike Strategy (December 2022) and complete on-ground works for network 1 at Mount Kembla and network 2 at Balgownie.
We have prepared and sought feedback on the Balgownie Mountain Bike Track Network – draft review of environmental factors. The draft review of environmental factors provides a comprehensive and detailed environmental assessment for the proposed mountain bike network adjacent to the suburb of Balgownie. Opportunities to comment closed 29 May 2023.