Club: Gippsland MTB Club
Volunteer Years: 14
Nomination Information: Mark Baines (Back row on the left in image) is the incumbent President of Gippsland MTB Inc. (GMTB), was formed in May 2008 due to the increasing popularity of mountain biking. GMTB is a not-for-profit incorporated association run by volunteers for the benefit of mountain bikers in Gippsland. GMTB is an active mountain bike association established to support and encourage the sport of mountain biking in Gippsland. GMTB is open to new ways of doing things, which has led to innovation opportunities in volunteer management processes that increase opportunities for the sustainable trail construction and maintenance of trail network infrastructure. GMTB volunteers delivered the Haunted Hills Mountain Bike Park in May 2022, free for public use.
In 2018, through a competitive process, GMTB trail advocacy volunteers Ian Johnston and Nicholas King (under the presidency of Mark) prepared a grant application and secured almost $0.98M of grant funding from the Australian Government’s Regional Jobs and Investment Package to design and construct the ‘Gateway’ to mountain biking in Gippsland – The Haunted Hills Mountain Bike Park (HHBP).
Stage 1 of the HHBP was fully funded and construction has been completed. Construction commenced in February 2021 with practical completion reached in May 2022, the HHBP is now open and free for the public to use. Stage 1 delivered a carpark and pathways, accessible toilets, an asphalt pump track, native revegetation and landscaping, shelters with seating for picnics and 13.5km of mountain biking trails for beginners through to advanced riders. Contractors were engaged by GMTB to manage the planning, design, and construction of the HHBP. GMTB referred to the ‘Guidelines for trail planning, design and management’ (a toolkit for Victorian state and local government agencies, community groups and investors on how to plan, manage and market exceptional trail experiences). More specifically, the network design complies with the ‘Principles of Sustainable Trails’ and all the relevant recommendations for building successful trails and trail design guidelines have been met. Contractors are currently returning to the site and constructing the HHBP Stage 2 network. Local youths from Latrobe Valley were employed by the Contractor for Stage 1.
Stage 2 of the HHBP is funded by the Victorian Government ($1m), designed, has planning approval and is due to commence construction. Stage 2 will be completed by December 2022.
Mark Baines, holds the chair of President at GMTB in a 100% volunteer capacity, overseeing GMTB, a well organised association that has the capacity and expertise to support further development of trails in Gippsland, especially the Central Gippsland 'G7' Mountain Bike Hub. GMTB has an awesome team of volunteer trail crews across our bike parks, and it is their dedication and enthusiasm to create recreational infrastructure that is free for our community to access right here in Gippsland that keeps us motivated.