The Bennett’s Trails – A story of resilience, collaboration and blisters - Misc. AU
The Bennett’s Trails – A story of resilience, collaboration and blisters

The Bennett’s Trails – A story of resilience, collaboration and blisters

It was smiles all round at the opening of two new trails at Bennett’s Forest Reserve in the Adelaide Hills on Saturday, 10th July 2021. The sun came out along with 40-something riders and delegates from Forestry SA to experience the new trails built by Gravity Enduro SA and an…

Words by Responsible Wood

It was smiles all round at the opening of two new trails at Bennett’s Forest Reserve in the Adelaide Hills on Saturday, 10th July 2021.

The sun came out along with 40-something riders and delegates from Forestry SA to experience the new trails built by Gravity Enduro SA and an army of volunteers.

It’s been a tough couple of years for the mountain bike community in the Adelaide Hills with bushfires and then the COVID pandemic.

Still, through the community’s resilience and support from Forestry SA and local businesses, things are starting to look up.

With the race season (and life in general) looking uncertain in 2020, we were feeling restless.

We seized the opportunity to build some new trails and help maintain the momentum that mountain biking in South Australia had experienced in recent years.

Up until 2015, Bennett’s Forest Reserve had been the home of a popular downhill trail until it was destroyed by a bushfire.

At that time, a couple of local legends had the foresight to identify a trail alignment and work with Forestry SA to have the plantation planned around it so that the trail could be built once the plantation had grown.

In 2020, with the trees over 6ft tall, we reached out to Forestry SA who are certified under the Responsible Wood certification scheme to get approval to build the trail.

With a renewed organisational focus on recreation, Forestry SA were very supportive.

We were soon spending our weekends working away in the forest.

We had never built trails before, and it was a steep learning curve.

Building trails by hand is tough, time-consuming work.

Especially when there are limited natural features.

We carried close to ten tonnes of rock into the trail to support jumps, drops and berms.

Luckily, we secured grant funding from the Responsible Wood Small Grants Program and further financial support from Forestry SA for the second trail to be cut by machine.

As a result of 800 hours of volunteer labour, and collaborations with Lighthouse Youth Project and Heroes on the Homefront, we now have two great trails at Bennett’s Forest Reserve and plans for up

to five more trails.

The top two things that I have learned from trail building?

  1. There is nothing more satisfying than riding something you built yourself and seeing other people enjoy it.
  2. Trail building makes you strong and reduces arm pump.

On a personal note, the most positive thing I have taken from this project is the role that women have played.

In recent years, we’ve seen significant growth in women and girls participating in mountain biking.

And now, we have women driving projects that will influence the future of mountain biking in South Australia as well as getting on the tools and making stuff happen.

Gravity Enduro South Australia (GESA) is dedicated to bringing gravity enduro mountain biking to Adelaide and its surrounding areas.

Covered by Kate Holbrook, Gravity Enduro SA Coordinator

Title Caption: It was smiles all round at the opening of two new trails at Bennett’s Forest Reserve in the Adelaide Hills on Saturday, 10th July 2021.

Caption: Monique Blason Manager of Community Services, Forestry SA (left) and Kate Holdrook Gravity Enduro SA Coordinator (right) at the starting line at the Bennett’s Trail.

All smiles at the Bennett’s Forest Reserve in the Adelaide Hills.
More than 40 riders and delegates from Forestry SA experience the new trails built by Gravity Enduro SA and an army of volunteers.
Kate Holdrook Gravity Enduro SA Coordinator (left) and Monique Blason Manager of Community Services, Forestry SA (right) and Jason Ross, Marketing and Communications Officer for Responsible Wood (centre) at the Bennett’s Forest Reserve in the Adelaide Hil
Gravity Enduro South Australia is dedicated to bringing gravity enduro mountain biking to Adelaide and its surrounding areas.

All photos and video supplied by Fletcher Media.

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