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Your Trails Need You!

"The many volunteers not named here who have sweated and toiled to build and maintain the trails are the driving force that has made the Blankets Creek Mountain Bike Tail System and Olde Rope Mill Park sustainable for all mountain bikers to enjoy, despite some of the heaviest traffic on any trail system in the country. The volunteers have made the difference."

These are the concluding words in the story of SORBA Woodstock and the trails at Blankets Creek and Rope Mill. The story starts 15 years ago when there were no sanctioned mountain bike trails in this area. It details the 58 volunteers who started digging the first trail on that first day in the rain. It highlights the dedication and perseverance demonstrated by local riders determined to bring top-shelf mountain biking opportunities within easy reach. The account also recalls SORBA Woodstock’s commitment to maintaining and improving these trails as our part of the original agreement made in our partnership with the land owners and managers.

Today, the popularity of the trails in Woodstock and Canton is well-known and well-deserved. The growth in mountain biking in our area is certainly impressive. We estimate more than 10,000 people take advantage of the 20+ miles of purpose-built single track each year. Over 2,000 subscribe to our Facebook page and nearly 500 receive our monthly newsletter. The new 185-spot parking lot at Blankets Creek regularly overflows on the weekends (or even a good Thursday night), and our relationships with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Cherokee Recreation Parks Agency (CRPA), Woodstock Parks and Recreation (WPR), and the City of Woodstock remain strong and productive. We enjoy huge financial support from local businesses and individuals alike. The story of SORBA Woodstock and mountain biking in Cherokee County is one of growth and success.

Despite all this upward momentum, SORBA Woodstock’s membership has dwindled to just over 175 people. In the nine official trail parties in 2014, we have had only 26 total volunteers contribute to the effort of maintaining these great trail systems. This is, unfortunately, insufficient to properly keep up with even the minimum maintenance required by the volume of use the natural surface trails receive. Not to mention, assist with the improvements and additions we have planned to keep Blankets and Rope Mill vibrant and interesting.

Volunteers gave life to our local trails, and they continue to be its life-blood. SORBA Woodstock exists simply for those volunteers to organize their efforts and to help them continue writing a great story. What’s your chapter?

Join our SORBA Woodstock Trail Crew Facebook page to learn about opportunities to make your ride better.

by Gary Moore
Blankets Creek Trail Director

June Chapter Meeting

We had another significant turnout for our June meeting following the evening's group ride. Good to see some new faces around the circle too.

Thank you to Prestige Medical Group for sponsoring the evening meal of pizza and salad and for their generous donation of an additional $900 to the Fierce Trail fund! Dr. Anil Yadav, who is an avid rider and member was on hand to introduce his practice to us and to offer SORBA members a free body analysis. Located on Sixes Road, Prestige Medical Group offers plans to help you use health weight, nutrition and exercise towards good health. They incorporate various modalities such as traditional medicine, integrative protocols, holistic care and medical cosmetic procedures towards this goal.

Our President Jay Wilkes was happy to report that funding for the Fierce Trail at Rope Mill Park continues to grow. The moneys contributed to SORBA for the Free-Flite Challenge easily exceeded the goal set by Dan Thronton, Lisa Randall of Mountain Goat Adventures gave us a generous check, MBA has worked hard to collect an impressive amount of donations, and we hope to see more contributions in the coming months. Thanks to everyone who has helped us out.

Blankets Creek Trail Director Gary Moore brought us up to speed on the volunteer hours for the work parties so far this year and mentioned that a few folks have already earned rewards for their work. Look for more news from Gary in our June newsletter.

In the future you'll be seeing meeting minutes from our new Secretary, Derrick Fitzgerald who didn't have enough to do as Assistant Trail Director. Congrats Derrick.

SORBA alumni Scott Stewart stopped by for a visit all the way from his new home base of Texas and it was a great to see him at the meeting.

See you in July!