Mt Victoria has always been a great place to ride and with developments over the last couple of years it has become a more popular destination for mountain biking. This is really positive but due to being a public space that is also shared with other groups, has created a few issues that need to be addressed
The Club has been working with the Wellington City Council, public and other groups to ensure Mt Victoria remains an exciting destination for mountain biking.
The purpose of this post is two-fold. Firstly, the Club wants to keep the mountain biking community up to date with what’s happening on Mt Victoria. And secondly, we will be seeking your feedback on the developments outlined in the following.
There are a number of projects in the works for Mt Vic. Some have been finished, some are under way and some are just on the horizon. Below is a bit of an update on their current status.
What has been done recently?
The Southstar Trails crew have been hard at work on Mt Victoria, giving some much needed TLC to trails in preparation for the summer season.
- The lower part of Hippy's has been reshaped
- Some corners on the Hataitai Zig Zag have been reshaped and are now more in keeping with the rest of the track
- There is a new climbing track above the Badminton Hall
In addition, some preliminary trail finding work has been done on a new exit at the bottom of TTS and Park Bench (described in more detail below). Mt Vic Trail Leader Rod Bardsley has also been communicating directly with Council representatives and demonstrating his plans for future building and maintenance on the hill.
What is being done at the moment?
The Council is in the process of putting a gate at the top of Rod's Drop which is expected to be fully installed within a couple of weeks. Why is this being done? Two main reasons:
- The lesser issue is that the drop fires riders into an area of the field where teams tend to congregate. The field is leased by Wellington College from the Council, and used by them in addition to other sports teams.
- The more significant issue is that it sends riders into the Southern Walkway at speed. Of particular concern to the Council is the step up after drop that lands riders right onto the walkway at a blind corner.
Once the gate is in, the drop will be open for events only.
For the interim, the old chicken line from the original Super D is still there and open for riding. The Club, and Rod in his capacity as Trail Leader, are working with the Council on options in this area for the future.
Mt Vic Management Plan
The Wellington City Council is running some consultation on a new management plan for Mt Victoria. In particular this is for the area from the SPCA (Chest Hospital) northbound. Just as the Club has engaged with the Council on the Town Belt Management Plan, it is also involved here.
WMTBC Club Secretary Russ has met with planning consultants who are preparing recommendations for Council. He presented the proposed changes (see below) accompanied by a rundown on the value of Mt Vic for the mountain bike community. The meeting went well, and we were able to provide the consultants with a great deal of information that they didn't have. They were especially impressed with Rod's plans around changing the exits of some trails to reduce conflict at junctions.
The development of this plan is ongoing and the consultants reported their initial recommendations to Council last week. Until this plan has been finalised, the Council have asked that no new trail building be done in this area of Mt Victoria. However, maintenance of existing trails can continue, so keep your eyes peeled for work parties, especially as the Super D draws nearer (March/April 2015). Announcements on the Mt Vic Trails FB page.
Regarding a timeframe on completion of the management plan - the best indication we have at this stage is some time within the next couple of months.
Right, so what is happening next?
Changes to Trail Exits
The hope is that once the Mt Victoria Management Plan is finalised, we can commence with Rod's plans to fine tune some of the more advanced trails to the north and west of the hill. The following alterations to existing trails have all been discussed with Council and agreed to in principle (although there may still be a few minor adjustments to the plan for Damains).
- Close existing entrance and re-open from LH cnr before wooden step-down on Hippy’s
- Form a trail from new entrance to a safer walking track x-ing approx. 10m south of existing exit
- Create a new trail from bush exit along grass plateau parallel to walking track to a slow LH trail x-ing. This new trail can have dirt brought in to create features
- At main walking track intersection, create a natural barrier feature to slow riders and divert walkers away from bank step-down
- Divert trail exit to a LH berm and slow uphill exit to prevent high–speed exit onto playing field
Grom (Jump) Track
- Re-work trails exit with features to slow rider exit
- Re-open lower trail to grass slope exit to prevent riders exiting down walking trail. Then extend trail along bushline to join with Damian trail exit
- Re-work trail after rock feature to slow riders up to treetrunk jump then join trail to Grom track exit
- Create a natural barrier to protect rider exit to upper walking track x-ing (below toilets) and improve sight lines
- Re-work lower V trail exit and extend south to join with TTS at final walk track x-ing
- Create new trail parallel and below road with slow exit to reduce rider/walker conflict and to prevent riders travelling down tarmac on wrong side of road
- Create a natural barrier at main walking track x-ing to alert walkers
- Alter trail exit to an abrupt LH uphill exit and add a new final trail section parallel to lower main walking track with a T-intersection exit to meet up with Park Bench trail and leading into playground trail exit
- Re-shape traverse around ridge under bench
- Add exit and entrance barriers at main walking track where LOTR tourists congregate to define rider direction
- Create a new trail exit parallel to lower main walk track to connect with TTS so there is a single, safe exit
Lower Super D Line - Proposed New Track From SPCA Roots to Skills Area
The Council have informed us that closure of the the root line across the road from the Harrier Club will happen, when is TBC.
This is primarily for two reasons. Firstly, the heavy use in this area is eroding the ground around the roots of established trees. And secondly, the speed at which riders come off the roots into the path of other trail users is an issue.
However, the Council realises this is a popular section of trail, so what they have proposed is opening up a trail below the road that takes riders away from the road and walking tracks, and on to singletrack. This new track would have two sections, outlined below.
Top SectionThe top section would go from the SPCA roots, with a new steep roll in and then sidle down alongside the road through the tall trees. It would meet up with an existing line and work its way through some trees and roots to a clearing above the trail Shuttle Cock.
This section would require significant retaining. The Council have indicated that they may be able to help with the major sections, with the Club doing the parts that only need to be a board or two high, similar to the new Reach Around track on Mt Alfred.
For regular riding, there would be a controlled speed exit onto the tarmac walking track. But for events, there is the option for the Club to put in a ramp that allows for a road gap over the walking track and onto the grass in the clearing.
Bottom SectionFrom the clearing, a new track would be built and have two exits - one into Shuttle Cock, and another into the Skills Area. This section of track still needs to be walked properly and marked out. Presently there are some large trees down from last year’s storms, that are across the intended line. From the scoping done to date, there are some natural hips and other features that will make for some sweet flowing single track.
The Complete Proposed LineThe images below give an idea of the complete proposed line. All is provisional at the moment and intended only to give an impression of where the track will go.
WCC have stated that they would like the trail to be Intermediate or Grade 3+. If you need an exemplar or comparison, think something around the same level as Swigg, Starfish, Carparts or Jail Brake (all in the dry). For the club's part, we have suggested that a main line at Grade 3 would be fine, if we can include some harder features off the main line for example a wall rides, rock drops etc.
Looking from the South to the North (click the photo for a bigger version)
So what next?
We are preparing a survey to get some structured feedback on the changes. Our goal is to get this up by the 5th of November. We'd then dearly like anyone who has an interest in riding on Mt Vic, club member or not, to take 10 minutes and fill out the survey.
We'll add a link to this post once it is ready. That should give everyone a bit of time to digest the above.
If you want to keep up to date on you can:
Give us some feedback
We'd like your feedback on these plans. Please take 5-10 minutes to fill out our survey.