We had over 50 people in attendance at tonight’s meeting, probably our largest turnout ever.
Jay Wilkes opened the meeting thanking Hurricane Bay Car Wash for providing Slope’s Barbecue for dinner at tonight’s meeting. Their car wash is located on Highway 92 just east of I-575. Ken from Hurricane Bay Car Wash was at the meeting and very generously provided free car wash tokens to people at the meeting.
Jay noted again that we had 28 patrollers certified on 7/11/09, more than twice the number in past years. NMBP jerseys are being provided by the chapter and have been ordered for all patrollers. We continue to work with the Cherokee County Emergency Services to set up a trail marking system on the Blankets Creek trails. Cherokee County is paying for the markers.
Kevin Long brought a jersey fit kit that was provided by the jersey supplier, Pactimo. We have over 50 orders for the Bill Blount designed jerseys. The deadline for ordering a jersey was tonight’s meeting.
Stephen Mullins of Pro Trails has done some great work building berms at several key points along the Van Michael Trail allowing riders to carry more speed through some of the turns. If you see him working on the trail, stop and thank him for the improvements he is making to this great trail.
The trail counter data continues to provide some valuable information about the volume of traffic on the different trails and the time of day and days of the week where the traffic is highest. In July, riders rode over 25,000 miles on the Dwelling Loop, which is greater than the distance around the earth at the equator. The infrared reader has been installed in the $1 box and will provide us with data about the total number of riders entering the trails from the parking lot.
Joe Woycke with the Cherokee County GIS (Geographic Information System) Department attended our last chapter board meeting and has offered to help us with GPS mapping of our trails and possibly providing GPS addresses for the 911 emergency system to use to direct emergency responders to injured riders on the trails.
The Olde Rope Mill Park project will be a significant focus for our chapter over the next 1-2 years. With all the land the City of Woodstock has made available for the Taylor Randahl Memorial Trail we will be able to build 10-11 miles of new trail. In addition to these trails, there will also be land available for some beginner trails. The long term plans are to connect this new trail system with Blankets Creek, which will create a network of singletrack mountain bike trails in excess of 30 miles. The plans for these trails are under review with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a process that is expected to take 90 days. We should be able to begin work on these trails around November 1st.
We will be providing training for Trail Crew Leaders on August 22-23. Walt Bready with IMBA-SORBA who typically conducts this training at the Chicopee Woods Trails has agreed to conduct the training at Blankets Creek if we could get a minimum of 10 people for the class. The response to this opportunity was overwhelming. We have 22 people who have expressed the desire to be trained, including seven people from the City of Woodstock Parks and Recreation Department. This level of participation by the City employees is an indicator of how committed they are to helping us build and maintain trails and learn about and apply IMBA standards for all their park trails.
Jeff Murchison updated everyone about the new distribution feature we have with our new web site. You can now register at www.sorbawoodstock.org and choose which issues you want to be notified about by e-mail when information on our web site changes. You can choose to be notified for some or all of the articles that are posted or when the trail opened/closed status is changed.
Our group ride at Raccoon Mountain was a big success. We will be announcing another group ride soon, possibly for the Jackrabbit Mountain Bike Trails near Hayesville, NC. These recently constructed trails were laid out by Mike Riter and have received great reviews from riders.
Jay Wilkes (Pres.), Scott Stewart (VP) and Chris Griffin (Treas.) met with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and CRPA to review our relationship and future plans and projects. It was a very positive and productive meeting. Based on plans already approved, they have given the go ahead to build the advanced South Loop Extension on the east side of Blankets Creek and an extension on Mosquito Flats. They were also very positive about the proposed downhill section on the old fire road that is currently taped off. They just need to see a plan for local approval. They also agree that we need to construct the connector trail between Olde Rope Mill Park and Blankets Creek, rather than leave it to rogue trail builders.
A question was asked about what is being done to alleviate parking congestion. This will become a significant issue when the church next door begins construction on their sanctuary and will no longer be able to allow overflow parking from Blankets Creek. We have been very fortunate to have such a generous neighbor, but that will soon have to change. With our existing property we could possibly add 20-40 spaces if we remove some trees and expand the parking lot. The County is very aware of the problem and is exploring options with us but they may wait to see what the impact of two trailheads (Olde Rope Mill Park and Blankets) will have on the problem. The suggestion was made that we all make the effort to park closer together and to spread the word among our friends. The suggestion was also made that we find a way to mark spaces, possibly painting or taping the cable around the lot, to indicate spacing.
Another suggestion was made to designate a day each month or week for “sessioning” on the trails, where everyone would be notified at the trailhead to be on the lookout for riders congregated at certain places on the trail. That led to discussion that we should be able to do that any time. Riders who are sessioning must be alert and give right of way to through traffic. No decisions were made.
Finally, Jay thanked Brian Berg, SORBA Woodstock Chapter member, who spoke to the Cobb County citizens Parks and Recreation Committee to recommend using park bond money for more bike locations in Cobb County.