The Quarry-Go-Round

HORNSBY MTB TRAILS UPDATE: Off-road cyclists throughout Sydney were devastated by the 2015 closure of the only professionally-built and marked mountain bicycle trails in Greater Sydney, namely OMV, due to the deal between Hornsby Council and Northconnex to fill the Quarry to facilitate new parklands for Hornsby by 2023. Elevated bridges to reconnect Lava Flow & Turkey Run mtb trails during construction have yet to materialise, leaving local riders with only 2.5km to ride on.

QUARRY TRAIL CLOSURE: A further blow has been dealt to cyclists, bush runners and walkers, with the official 2016 closure of the Quarry Road Firetrail, due to the determination of the powerful North Shore Regional Target Shooting Association to keep us all safe and sedentary. While it is important for legal gun owners to have a place to practise shooting skills, there has not been any incident since the range was established in 1898. The Association holds the official license to use a large wedge of Crown Land intersected twice by the Quarry Trail.

Since 1995, land management authorities have been privy to ‘The Audit for Public Safety,’ conducted by Insearch, on the Hornsby Range. The Range Inspector of NSW Police Firearms Registry, upon reviewing this Safety Audit, the Firearms Act of 1996 and the 2006 NSW Firearms Regulations, decided to adopt a zero risk policy for the Hornsby Range. Consequently, we now have a bushland ‘Sydney Lockout’, barring public access to a National Park, a key historical link between Hornsby and Dural and the only bridge, other than in Galston Gorge – across the extensive, sheer-sided Berowra Creek.

Just as Hornsby Council ‘inherited’ OMV & the Quarry, the exceptionally poor management of Quarry Trail access has been ‘inherited’ from the past by BVNP. Pogson Trig Trail has been newly signposted and upgraded by NPWS in a feeble attempt at an ‘alternate route’ to QRT, but this only serves to illustrate a redundant mindset that walking is the only active way visitors want to experience a national park. NPWS says they are “Continuing discussions with their land management partners to investigate more options for alternate routes to QRT.” My, how proactive they are!

The fact that nothing has been done to facilitate or secure ongoing Quarry Road trail use for the local community in the 22 years following that fateful 1995 Audit for Public Safety, does not inspire confidence in much, if anything being built now for any trail user groups to appreciate and legally access this vast area of BVNP for the foreseeable future- with the notable exception of all those who own a gun.