Bruce Ridge Nature Park is one of the of thirty three separate protected areas in and around Canberra that make up the Canberra Nature Park series in the Australian Capital Territory, ranging from bushland hills to lowland native grassland. Many of the areas have previously been cleared for grazing, but many are now returning to native bushland through re-vegetation and rehabilitation programs.
Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve is a 94 hectare area of Canberra Nature Park, located less than five kilometers north-west of the Canberra Civic Centre. The reserve is bounded by O’Connor Ridge Nature Reserve to the East, Gossan Hill Nature Reserve to the North West and Black Mountain to the South.
Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve has significant natural values and preserves several threatened flora species and threatened vegetation communities. Despite the inevitable impacts of the reserve’s proximity to a substantial urban centre, it retains ecological integrity, the protection of which remains the management priority for the ACT Parks and Conservation Service (PCS).
Bruce Ridge Nature Park is enclosed by simple wire fences with gates are provided for people to walk or run in the park. Motorbikes are excluded. Bruce Ridge Nature Park has two reservoirs, as part of ACT Electricity and Water’s supply network.
Because of Bruce Ridge’s close proximity to residential areas, it has been subject to illicit mountain bike trail building that threatens wildlife habitat, a number of species of rare flora communities and some sensitive indigenous sites.
An assessment of the ecological values of Bruce Ridge and a community consultation process identified that formalisation of some of the existing cycling trails would minimise the impact on flora and fauna of the reserve and have significant safety, environmental and social benefits.
Early in 2011 the ACT Parks and Conservation Service sought to engage interested parties to discuss the issue and determine a process to formalise some of the cycling tracks in Bruce Ridge Nature Reserve. As a result, the Friends of Bruce Ridge (FoBR) Nature Park Group was established to support the excellent efforts of PCS staff to sustain the nature park.
While trail restoration works are well underway, the full outcome of the collaboration will take years to be recognised. The project, with professional input from ACT Government ecologists and the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA), along with Parks and Conservation and FoBR will:
- protect and enhance the integrity of ecological values in the reserve;
- decrease the 20 kms of informal trail networks to 14 kms of formal trails over the 94 ha of Bruce Ridge;
- close and regenerate unsustainable trails and trails that have a high ecological impacts;
- design sustainable shared trails that provide a safe and sustainable trail network and considers recreational activities, in the reserve; and
- increase safety for all recreational users of the reserve.
The Friends of Bruce Ridge forum is located at www.fobr.prophpbb.com
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