At some time in 2020 the management of the National Arboretum also became managers of Stromlo Forest Park (SFP). One of their first steps has been to revisit the 2016 Master Plan for SFP. The new managers are concerned Stromlo isn’t well placed to cope with the future impact of the surrounding suburban development. Already they see issues with the downhill trails due to limited access at the top. ACTEA has had a series of meetings with SFP to remind them that horses are using the place and need to be heard. Also, that the National Trail goes through Blue Gums, across the eastern face of the mountain and under the John Gorton underpass to the Molonglo River corridor. This bothers them due to the rules in the MOU protecting the Trail. It conflicts with SFP’s view that every trail and track on the mountain is bookable and that this dual use is dangerous.
SFP are keen to re-energise the Master Plan which takes the National Trail to the John Gorton underpass along Holdens Creek at the base of the Mountain away from the bikes but quite close to the yet to be constructed playing fields – effectively in and out of the park as quickly as possible. No one has ridden through on this route since the creation of the grass running track due to infrastructure making it unsafe and unrideable. SFP think they can make it safe with the injection of a fair amount of money.
SFP is also keen to move equestrian trails to the western side of the mountain where there are currently no mountain bike tracks. Their ideas for the western side of Mt Stromlo have grown as ACTEA has pointed out the area’s deficiencies including replicating Blue Gums with tie rails and picnic tables, creating new equestrian trails, even putting a toilet and yards at the base of the mountain. However, there’s no easy way into western Stromlo for horses, there is no permanent water and it is a far longer ride for people who are not floating horses to the Park.
All of these things are no more than pie in the sky if they do not get specific funding. No previous managers have ever got past the ‘wouldn’t it be nice’ point. Given that a lot of SFP plans rely on as yet non-existent money ACTEA proposes to concentrate on the things we want fixed straight away such as
- Ensuring horses riders are recognised users of the Park
- upgrading the ride base on the Mt Stromlo Road,
- moving the MTBs away from the Western Carpark,
- improving protection of equestrian trails and
- updating the almost non-functional website.