"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