AS a founding member of the Glenrock Trail Alliance and a consultative committee representative, I'd like to discuss the trail closures.
It's a shame that much of the feedback hints at a conflict between walkers and cyclists requiring segregation to address.
The reality is far different, with walkers and cyclists alike showing respect on the trails.
We all enjoy Glenrock for the same underlying reason - its beauty as a form of escapism.
It's only our methods of transport that differ.
Within either demographic, there are people who spoil things, but these people are the minority and shouldn't be used as the basis for stereotyping.
The recent closures are in response to the 2010 Glenrock plan of management, which at the time was subject to extensive public consultation with representatives of many user groups on the consultative committee.
At the time of the plan of management, mountain bike participation was expanding rapidly.
The National Park and Wildlife Service's own cycling policy didn't effectively deal with cycling, lumping cyclists into the same broad category as motorised vehicles.
Within NSW, there were limited examples of single trail access. Mountain bike riding was largely restricted to state forest land leased by local clubs (for example, Hunter Mountainbike Association at Awaba) or unsanctioned trails.
The local National Parks and Wildlife Service realised the need to manage mountain biking.
The solution was northern trails, with a southern exclusion area. While the Glenrock Trail Alliance opposed the rationale for the removal of access to the south, the result for cycling in terms of access in the north was unheralded within a national park.
This shouldn't be forgotten when discussing the 2010 plan of management.
The northern trails pushed the envelope for cycling access and the local National Parks and Wildlife Service was instrumental in getting it across the line.
Following adoption of the plan, the National Parks and Wildlife Service released a policy aimed at managing and implementing mountain biking.
Glenrock has largely been seen as the catalyst for this policy.
Had the policy existed prior, would the plan of management have been different?
The Glenrock Trail Alliance and the National Parks and Wildlife Service have worked tirelessly upgrading trails, rationalising existing trails, revegetating trails and closing unsustainable trails.
Through the Glenrock Trail Alliance, I have fielded phone calls from non-cyclists thanking us for trail works.
These works have benefited many park users, and we would be horrified that a group was excluded from the park to maintain our access. Similarly we hope other park users would feel the same about cycling.
The Glenrock Trail Alliance can not thank the National Parks and Wildlife Service enough for the support given to the northern trails.
The volunteers who regularly undertake trail maintenance, tree planting and rehabilitation attest to this.
We welcome anyone to join us or stop in for a chat.
We do, however, firmly believe that access through the southern areas could have been achieved to the benefit of all park users, and the park itself.
The Glenrock Trail Alliance lobbied for the southern trails to be treated in the same manner as the northern trails: unsustainable trails closed and those deemed to be acceptable, upgraded.
Sadly, mountain bike access to the south is prohibited, restricting access to some of the prime vantage points to view, reflect on and interpret the park in areas such as Elvis Rock.
Only limited access to pedestrians and horses is maintained.
Accessing Dudley beach now requires walkers and cyclists to run the gauntlet of traversing sealed vehicle roads. These roads are steep, narrow and devoid of adequate shoulder space for pedestrians or cyclists.
The Glenrock Trail Alliance fears the closures will not result in any clear ecological or sustainability outcomes, but could result in a compliance problem as people find themselves in the restricted area.
There is no barrier or landmark to define where the southern zone begins, merely a totem pole.
The alliance is not asking for unrestricted access to the southern area, merely consideration of some well-planned corridors to facilitate multi-user trails.
The northern area demonstrates where quality trails have been provided, illegal and unsanctioned trail construction is near eliminated.
This should be the goal in managing access.
Glenrock, however, should not have to cater for all off-road cycling in the Lower Hunter as it currently does. There is a need locally for other land managers, such as the councils, to consider where they may be able to provide access.
This, more than any no-ride zone, is the key to reducing impacts on Glenrock.
Leonard Allen is a member of the Glenrock Trail Alliance and the trails advocacy officer for the Hunter Mountainbike Association