THE Bendigo Mountain Bike Club will likely cancel one of its "biggest and most successful" annual events, blaming Parks Victoria conditions.
The club is urging people to pressure Parks to change the "highly restrictive" requirements.
It fears parts parts of the track used in the Golden Triangle Epic would need to be remediated once the race finishes.
Remediation would mean permanently closing those sections, the club said in a Facebook post.
"We are bitterly disappointed with Parks Victoria's decision to impose these unworkable conditions, which will effectively bring to an end one of the most popular and successful events for the Bendigo cycling community," it read.
"Of course we do not wish to close any trails just to run an event, and so we have made the difficult decision not to apply for a permit and will not be running the Golden Triangle Epic next year.
The April Epic sees groups race in events ranging from 15km to 160km through an area stretching into Mandurang South.
Parks' decision to approach the club about remediation work comes amid increasing concern about permanent damage being done to the forests around Bendigo as the popularity of mountain bikes soar, Parks northern regional director Daniel McLaughlin said.
"What we've done with mountain bike groups holding events to give us some more information on where they are going to go," he said.
Some of these tracks are legal, some of them aren't. They were constructed without being approved."
One of Parks' main concerns is not damage done during the event itself, but in the weeks that follow when people go out to use the same tracks used for official races.
The Bendigo Mountain Bike Club did not create the illegal tracks and has worked closely with Parks Victoria to manage challenges in the park, along with other community groups, Mr McLaughlin said.
Increasing numbers of mountain bikes has led to more illegal tracks being created, he said. He did not have an estimate on how much illegal track had been created, but said it did have an adverse impact on native flora and fauna, including threatened and endangered species.
Norm Stimson is part of a group that has been pushing for Parks Victoria to take stronger action to protect bushland.
"The proliferation of mountain bikes tracks really took off in about 2009, 2010. So in the last 10 years they've gone sky-high," he said.
He is not opposed to mountain bike tracks per se, but is concerned by estimates by community groups that there may be 100s of kilometres of illegally-made bike trails through the Greater Bendigo National Park and the Bendigo Regional Park.
The Bendigo Advertiser has sighted research done by Mr Stimson and other community groups that show increased tracks through the parks, based on field observations, publicly available data from fitness tracking software and maps compiled over time from other activities in the park.
The environmental impact of mountain bikes is something the entire community of riders is conscious of, Bendigo Mountain Bike Club president Barry Floyd said.
"We all accept that that needs to be managed," he said.
The group has spent the past decade advocating for properly managed paths and access and wants a master plan and extra, legally created, trails, Mr Floyd said.
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