Shane Rattenbury at the construction of the Majura Parkway that has cut the popular Majura Pines recreation area in half. Photo: Melissa Adams
It's been sliced in two by a motorway and is coming to the end of its working life but a Canberra pine forest where Cadel Evans once raced mountain bikes is to be spruced up and reopened for recreational use.
The 91-hectare Majura Pines has for decades been a working forest and a popular location for mountain biking, orienteering and running.
ACT Territory and Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury hopes the Pines will be open for business again later this year after work on the Majura Parkway is completed. An underpass will ensure both parts of the Pines are easily accessible by recreational users.
Mr Rattenbury said more than 500 people had made submissions to the government on the future of the Pines since a public consultation process began two weeks ago.
"I think that just underlines the popularity of the area and the enthusiasm of people to turn it back into a great recreation site,'' he said. "People have been asking for new trails, drinking water points, directional signs. The broad idea is to re-create mountain bike riding opportunities with a good set of trails, the parking to go with that and of course connections through to Hackett and Ainslie on the other side of the mountain where a lot of people come from.''
The Majura Pines hosted Australian mountain biking championships in the 1990s.
It is also used by the nearby Guide camp and has previously hosted police training exercises.
The current forest was planted between 1985 and 1987 and is coming towards the end of its viable commercial life.
The ACT's 7500 hectares of pine trees are progressively logged with the proceeds used to maintain the viability of the forests.
About 10,500 hectares of pine plantations were destroyed during the January, 2003, bushfires.