NORTHERN suburbs mountain bikers will soon have an upgraded track to ride from Joondalup to Yanchep.
Department of Parks and Wildlife is currently upgrading the Yaberoo Budjara Heritage Trail through Neerabup National Park and started laying limestone on the section north of Burns Beach Road on November 21.
Northern Beaches Cycling Club (NBCC) mountain biking facilities director Mark Papadopoff, of Mindarie, welcomed the upgrade.
“It gives us somewhere to ride off-road safely away from vehicles in the northern suburbs,” he said.
Having pedalled competitively and socially for the past 30 years, Mr Papadopoff said he and son James (16) usually face an hour and 15 minutes’ drive to get to the nearest mountain biking trail in Kalamunda.
NBCC president Chris Howard said having a limestone track would benefit about 30 mountain bike riders who were members of the club, as well as riders generally.
“The mountain biking grew out of the road cycling club because of the interest and the demand for it,” he said.
“Currently if you are into mountain biking you have to head to the Hills to find some decent trails.”
While the clay soils in the Hills make firm tracks, Dr Howard said soft sands in the northern coastal corridor meant they had to have limestone tracks for mountain biking.
He said the trail also had several access points, including Hester Avenue and Pipidinny Road, so people could choose to ride varying distances.
Mr Papadopoff said he had ridden the undulating trail many times before the upgrade started.
“There’s lots of wildlife in there,” he said.
“It feels like you are out in the middle of nowhere without being in the middle of nowhere.”
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the department planned to finish sealing 25km of the trail from Burns Beach Road to Yanchep National Park by the end of the year.
Describing Neerabup as a “forgotten” national park, Mr Jacob said he hoped the upgrade would encourage more people to explore the trail, walking or cycling.
“It’s been a bit under utilised,” he said.
“I want to encourage passive recreation in this national park; mountain biking and bush walking.”
Dr Howard said there could be tourism benefits for the area following the upgrade.
“This has the capacity to attract mountain bikers to come to the northern corridor to ride their bikes,” he said.
Mr Papadopoff said the Kalamunda trail attracted hundreds of riders every weekend.
The full 28km trail links Neil Hawkins Park at Lake Joondalup with Neerabup and Yanchep national parks.
It highlights the area’s natural environment such as the wetlands, birdlife, vegetation and scenic views, plus Aboriginal cultural sites and historical sites such as old limestone quarries.
The upgrade will include updates to signage with advice for cyclists and walkers and connections to pedestrian underpasses at the Neerabup Road extension and Hester Avenue realignment.
Part of the Yaberoo Budjara Heritage Trail closed last year to accommodate Mitchell Freeway extension works.
Main Roads WA plans to re-open the section between the Neerabup Road extension and Hester Avenue in mid-December.