Staircase Hill / Fred's Hill off the Putty Rd north of Sydney

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 12, 2003 at 22:03
ThreadID: 5422 Views:4833 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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Went to Staircase Hill - saw some track notes stating that this was a HARD track, you have got to be joking - I would say EXTREME for people only wanting to destroy thier vehicles. I walked it and there were bits of indicators, paint on rock and trees and oil stains where I guess diffs etc had blown. Some of the rock ledges were atleast 5ft high in places. People that take their vehicles here must either have a heap of money or they are insane - it would be Ok on a trials bike but a vehicle. The place is extremely rutted and difficult to walk along - the trail at one stage has been used for fire control though the fire authorities have closed it with huge roll over drains but 4WD's have breached these. It seems this trail is for the sole purpose of destroying a vehicle as the trail just does a loop and goes to no scenic destination. The vehicle to go along this trail would have to be raised 4 inchs atleast, no overhangs, skid bars, good winch and diff locks and be someone elses. It might be just me but who would put their own vehicle down some thing like this ?
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Reply By: Truckster (Vic) - Thursday, Jun 12, 2003 at 22:42

Thursday, Jun 12, 2003 at 22:42
To each their own... you maybe suprised how a modified car gets along there without damaging it. search for "freds hill", see some of the cars that go there, they arent your average 3inch lifted 33running car.

Cars that go there, arent the kind you see in the Simpson. 4inch lift isnt much these days, 33's used to be big few yrs back, now if you dont have 35's in mud country its a hassle as most have BIGGER, and the ruts get deeper.....

Freds is closed now anyway, all the good places around are closing faster than a ... no better not say the wives one here.
AnswerID: 22389

Reply By: John Boy - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 06:32

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 06:32
I think Truckster just about said it all... Yes tracks like this are getting harder as people go out and buy 38 inch tyres but in reality it can be driven without a problem if you have 33's or35s' and a capable (Patrol/HiLux etc.) twin locked vehicle—oh a capable driver is a very good call as well. By 'without a problem' I mean no engine reving and minimal wheel spin—unless it pours with rain like the last time we did it. My friend with a Lux; standard springs, 2inch body lift to clear 33's and twin lockers cruzed up it even with the rain.
More of these tracks are being shut off, initialy with big 'waterbars', then after someone drives over these NPWS will pull trees down over the track, next it is giant boulders blasted from the nearby cutting and so on it goes...
Whilst I don't condone driving on closed tracks—I especially hate it when I see 4WDers have created their own new tracks. Sometimes NPWS does more damage than good by shutting tracks down. The are not going to stop some drivers from wanting to get in there. For the relativly small number who do, I think that they shouldnt wast their time damaging the bush to keep enthusiasts out. If we didnt get such a bad rep from the so called 'hard core' idiots who have to prove themselves by making new tracks in public bushland maybe we would have a better chance. Then again NPWS does seem to go to the other extreme and try to lock out everyone from 4WDers to mountain bike riders so who's to say—guess it takes less resources to manage if they keep everyone out.
AnswerID: 22391

Follow Up By: Member - Andrew- Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 08:33

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 08:33
The last bit is the key. If they can prove that they tried to keep people out then they are not liable if anything happens.
There are plenty of tracks around where i live that have burnt out cars or better, aspestos roof sheeting and prunings ditched along the side to give them incentive to lock it all off.
Give man a long enough rope.........
wheredayathinkwer mike?
FollowupID: 14735

Reply By: Member - Rohan K - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 09:33

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 09:33
Jeff, I would have been one of those boys, many years ago, in semi-tough FJ40 (those things were really built for 4x4). I'd probably still have fun "having a go", if I could afford it, because its all about "challenge", and I have no issue with the guys that enjoy 4WD'ing just for the sake of conquering ever more difficult obstacles. It's that whole concept from which the Tuff Truck Challenge and other such 4x4 events were born. I'm not into that anymore, but I wouldn't want to see the opportunity to enjoy it taken away from those that are.

As mentioned above, the continuing closure (and I know you're not actually advocating this) of such tracks will force these folk to do what we don't want them doing. They'll take the risk and make their own tracks, thereby causing considerable more environmental damage than if they were left to an existing track. It’s not really fair to restrict activity to a small number of highly inaccessible private venues. Closing more and more tracks will create greater concentration of people into fewer/smaller areas. I have a strong aversion to caravan parks and camping grounds (I go bush to get away from humans, not congregate with them). Its already becoming increasingly difficult even for folk like me (soft-core, low impact 4wheelers), that just wants to take the family "bush" to gain access to such areas.

If the boys want to destroy their vehicles, and/or themselves, trying to tackle an extreme track, let them. In fact, we should be making more of these "redundant" fire maintenance tracks available to 4x4s, not fewer. That way, less damage would be done at any one place and, lets face it, the actual area covered by these tracks is a minuscule proportion of the areas in which they are located. Just put in place restrictions on public liability and costs so the participants have to cover their own costs for recovery, repairs (to vehicle, themselves and the environment), and we'll all be happy little campers.

Sorry if I sound like I'm on my soap box. I'm just a littlebleepoff. Our local council has been aggitating again - to have 4x4s restricted from operating in urban areas - based as usual on emotive arguments with absolutely no fact or evidence to back up their claims of safety hazards, environmental hazards, etc. All coming from would-be-if-they-could-be, BMW driving wet-sops. My old man had a go at me the other day about me owing a (dangerous) 4x4, complete with "bull bar". My only redeeming feature, apparently, was that it doesn't have a rear-mounted spare. I gave him a serve for being mindlessly influenced by a bunch of un-informed, self-interested, politically motivated boffins.

Ah, thanks. I feel better now.Talk is cheap ...
Rohan (Sydney)
AnswerID: 22395

Follow Up By: Time - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 13:25

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 13:25
Thanks Rohan, that made me feel better too.

It becomes a self fulfilling prophecy when tracks are closed off because of over use, the same number of viehicles now use fewer tracks therby damaging those tracks, so we close off another lot to further increase the volume of traffic on fewer and fewer tracks al.

Spent last Sunday on fire trails north of around the Clyde River. There had been strong winds in the week before, as a consequence we cleared 17 fallen trees off various tracks (so we recreational using do have our good points I guess), bet the Bush Fire Brigade boys (and girls) wouldn't complain about that!


FollowupID: 14747

Follow Up By: Member -BJ (Sydney) - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 17:20

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 17:20
Well said Rohan i'll second that.Regards Bob
3 Weeks till Gulf trip
FollowupID: 14782

Reply By: Jeff (Beddo) - Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 18:44

Friday, Jun 13, 2003 at 18:44
As Truckster said it is closed - tracks not used for weed or fire management purposes are usually closed as the resources/funds and staff are not avialable to maintain. Plans of management for each park are put on public display for people to comment on which tracks should remain open - the hard core environmental groups submit numerous submissions to close areas but the recreational groups are fairly relaxed which puts the scale weighted on the green side - NPWS are suppose to get a balance inbetween. With National Parks being for conservation mainly and State Conservation Areas similiar but with a more recreational orientated slant.
The track has been used extensively by modified vehicles and this trail is now not useable by fire vehicles or for management. Is this type of use suitable for a park and if it is why don't the users get together and submit a proposal to the land management authority re leaving it open and the particular users doing erosion control measures so that it is not seen as a erosion ditch. The trail perhaps could stay the way it is with the rock ledges but with sediment control measures put in place and avoid any creeks.
I'm sure if NPWS do close it off with barriers as it has been done in the past then it will be bypassed again - and as said above more damage to the area. It will be a no win situation. I think it is up to the users to submit a plan to NPWS showing that they are responsible and that environmental concerns are addressed and it is sustainable.
At present it is closed what is the story with insurance - I guess no one is covered. Also if NPWS permitted entry at present and someone injured themselves then NPWS would be responsible. They could bring the track up to fire trail standard - result would be no 4WDs as it would be too easy.
AnswerID: 22449

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