Funds to take First Turkey to the top
Steve Wilcock has delighted at the way in which a maze of coloured squiggles on an ambitious master plan has materialised into an orderly run of trails at the First Turkey Mountain Bike Reserve.
The president of the Rockhampton Mountain Bike Club will now see the ongoing process fast-tracked courtesy of a $500,000 funding injection.
A total of $250,000 was awarded to the Rockhampton Regional Council in Round 2 of the Queensland Government's Building Our Regions infrastructure program. The council has also contributed $245,000 and the mountain bike club $5000.
RRC parks and recreation committee chair Cherie Rutherford said the project, which is part of the Mount Archer Activation Master Plan, would enable greater use of Mount Archer by people of all ages and fitness levels.
"We will deliver mountain bike trails, a composting toilet, an outdoor learning and bike competition event staging area, a causeway across Moores Creek for emergency service access and signage,” she said.
Mr Wilcock said the announcement of the extra $250,000 in funding was "terrific” and would allow for the completion of the trail network.
"This will mean the accelerated completion of the master plan that we developed for First Turkey two years ago.
"It will allow for the completion of all the trails; we will have 25km in total and we've probably got about half of that now.
"This will put First Turkey on the map. It's already becoming known in mountain biking circles and this will certainly shine the spotlight on our area as a leading mountain biking attraction.”
That has proven to be the case, with the Rockhampton Mountain Bike Club a front-runner to stage a round of the Australian enduro gravity series in mid-2017.
Mr Wilcock said the investment in the project was already reaping dividends, with membership in the Rockhampton club having doubled to 110 members in the past 18 months.
"More significantly though is the impact on usage. The amount of engagement with the activity has gone up hugely.
"We don't have official figures in that regard; it is more observation and anecdotal evidence but the level of activity has increased dramatically.
"On Saturday morning at some of the trail hubs up there it is almost standing room only, which is really good. We have mums and dads and their kids through to the expert riders so there is a whole range of people involved.”
Mr Wilcock said while the full network of trails would be finished by November next year, individual trails would be opened as they were completed.
There would also be a mix of trails, from easy to intermediate through to the more technical and challenging.
"Even at this stage of the project, I think First Turkey is equal to some of the areas that I've ridden in the south-east,” he said.
"This latest injection of funds will make it even better. We will definitely be on a par with the other major mountain biking areas in the state.”