Work has begun on 45 kilometres of world-class mountain bike trails in north-west Tasmania as part of a plan to promote the state as a first-rate adventure holiday destination.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the $1.6 million second stage of the Wild Mersey Mountain Bike Trails project, together with Stage 1, will increase the length of the trail to 70 kilometres and provide new trail head facilities at Warrawee.
“When completed, the Wild Mersey Mountain Bike Trails project will see more than 100 kilometres of new, International Mountain Biking Association-standard mountain bike trails laid in some of north-west Tasmania’s most spectacular country – an outcome which will provide major short- and long-term economic benefits to the region and the state,” Mr McCormack said.
“Stage 2, for example, is expected to support eight jobs during construction and more than 50 ongoing jobs. In connecting Latrobe, Railton, Sheffield and Devonport, the completed trails will deliver a raft of opportunities for tourism operators to attract more and a wider variety of visitors to the area, ranging from young families to extreme-sports enthusiasts.”
Senator for Tasmania Richard Colbeck said the project is expected to become a top attraction for the world’s best biking athletes.
“It’s likely to become one of Australia’s leading mountain bike attractions, hosting annual mountain bike events, including national championships which will benefit the local economy and market the north-west as a wilderness-based adventure destination,” Senator Colbeck said.
“Mountain bike industry experts believe Tasmania needs about four mountain bike facilities to be classed as a mountain bike destination, and the Wild Mersey trails provide a third major facility (after Blue Derby and Mount Wellington) that will generate more tourism activity in the region.”
Senator for Tasmania Steve Martin said the project will help to develop a local adventure tourism industry and generate new opportunities for local small businesses in the Kentish and Latrobe municipalities.
“When all three stages are completed, the trail will include Green Standard trails for beginners, Blue Standard trails for recreational mountain bikers, and Black Standard extreme trails that will cater to national and international mountain bikers and elite riders,” Senator Martin said.
Tasmanian Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure Jeremy Rockliff said the Mersey region has outstanding potential as a mountain biking destination, especially if marketed with the Blue Derby trails in Tasmania’s north-east.
“The variety of trails have been designed to cater to both mountain bike enthusiasts and families looking to experience the Tasmanian wilderness and the wonderful views,” Mr Rockliff said.
“Even better, it will boost jobs and tourism for the State’s north west while further enhancing Tasmania’s reputation as an exciting cycle tourism destination.”
The Wild Mersey Mountain Bike Trails project stretches across the Kentish and Latrobe Council areas.
Kentish Council Mayor Don Thwaites said it’s pleasing to see construction beginning on Stage 2 after a thorough period of planning.
“The idea for a mountain bike trail network began around four years ago when we were looking to build on the rising profile of Tasmania as a wilderness and adventure-holiday destination,” Cr Thwaites said.
Latrobe Council Mayor Peter Freshney said the trail network has the potential to showcase the natural beauty of north-west Tasmania and provide multi-day tourism experiences for riders.
“The trails are designed to be a mix of cross-country, downhill and gravity enduro tracks that make the most of the varied bushland, hills and river flats that are features of this area and complement other mountain biking experiences in Tasmania,” Cr Freshney said.
This project is jointly funded with the Liberal and Nationals’ Government investing $800,000, the Tasmanian Government $600,000, Kentish Council $100,000 and Latrobe Council $100,000.