TRACKS that wove through the Glenrock State Conservation Area for decades have been "completely destroyed" under a NSW National Parks and Wildlife plan to restore the bush sanctuary.
Runners and mountain bikers say they are outraged after established routes through Glenrock's southern reaches have been removed over the past month.
The works are the start of about a year's worth of closures of unofficial paths under a plan of management aimed at regenerating the southern portion of the reserve.
That area is now off-limits to mountain bikers.
But Andrew Daniel, who lives in Sydney but grew up in Newcastle and visits Glenrock regularly, said even walkers could no longer use the southern paths he has trod since childhood.
"I can recall using some of the trails up there, that have been destroyed, as a cub scout and a primary school student," Mr Daniel, 35, said.
"I have ridden mountain bikes in there, done countless walks and hikes and some excellent runs that are all now destroyed."
Works to close the paths were done under Glenrock's plan of management introduced in 2010.
The plan was devised with input from a consultative committee and public workshops, a NSW Parks and Wildlife Service spokesman said.
The Glenrock Consultative Committee's 14 members included representatives for groups including bushwalkers, horse riders, hang-gliders, anglers and mountain bikers.
Member of the committee and the Glenrock Trail Alliance Mick Plummer said he believed too many trails had been closed off under the plan but conceded it was a group decision.
As someone who has mountain-biked through the area for more than 20 years, Mr Plummer said he believed the outrage came after other riders were caught off-guard.
"What a lot of people didn't realise was it wasn't just about mountain biking, these extra trails that weren't on the maps would be closed to all users and rehabilitated," Mr Plummer said.
"Some of those trails in there have been there a long time and probably pre-date mountain bikes."
A NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service spokesman said the plan involved assessing each track's condition and sustainability, with those in poor shape earmarked for rehabilitation.
That process involved putting channels in steep trails to catch sediment and water and ripping up flatter paths before covering them with logs and rocks.
"Informal tracks in the vicinity of Leggy Point and Scout Camp Road have now been rehabilitated and works will then progress over the following year to close additional informal tracks in the southern zone," the spokesman said.
"Trees and shrubs will be planted throughout [closed tracks, and] these works will then be monitored over time to ensure that the closures remain permanent."