The state government is set to process 37 Expressions of Interest (EOI) for environmentally sustainable tourism projects in our National Parks and the World Heritage Area with mountain bike trails, horseback riding and scenic over-night treks already in the pipeline.

Minister for Environment, Parks and Heritage, Matthew Groom has so far given approval for 15 EOIs to proceed to the second stage of analysis, with estimations that a total of 24 EOIs will reach this stage.

Among the successful EOIs to reach stage two of assessment is Blue Derby Pods Ride, a multi-faceted mountain bike experience located in north east Tasmania.

Devised by Tara Anstie and Stephen Howell, the EOI proposes the use of the newly developed mountain bike trails in the north-east of Tasmania for a premium three-day mountain biking experience including the Hollybank Mountain Bike Park and trails, Derby trails, and the Blue Tier/Weldborough trails.

Concept sketch of the Blue Derby Pods Ride accommodation pods.

Concept sketch of the Blue Derby Pods Ride accommodation pods.

This experience will further the traditional model of a mountain biking tour by providing accommodation in high-crafted, eco-friendly, suspended accommodation units designed to blend into the surrounding landscape.

Minister Groom said that he was committed to working through the proposals and recommendations of the Assessment Panel, while keeping all decisions public and transparent as they are made.

“Stage two involves a more rigorous assessment of each proposal and for successful proposals, negotiations will be entered into for appropriate lease or licence arrangements,” Minister Groom said

“Successful proponents will be assessed on the appropriateness of the proposal to a particular site, the qualifications of the proponent to establish and operate the proposal and the ability of the proponent to finance the proposal.

“Proponents will also be required to obtain all other necessary approvals as required under standard state and federal planning and approval processes.”

The parks and wilderness tourism project is part of the state governments plan to help reach a target of 1.5 million visitors to Tasmania by 2020.

“We want to give more Tasmanians and visitors the opportunity to experience our unique, world class wilderness areas,” Minister Groom said.

A final decision on successful stage two EOIs is set to be announced on March 13.