The City Council of Woodstock, Georgia voted recently to provide $150,000 of funding in their 2010 budget to build the Taylor Randahl Memorial Mountain Bike Trails in the Olde Rope Mill Park. The trail is named in memory of Taylor Randahl, a Cherokee County high school mountain biker who was tragically killed in a road cycling accident on April 14, 2000.
Facilities at the Olde Rope Mill Park currently include a pavilion, picnic areas, decks overlooking the river and access to the river for fishing and canoeing. There is also a paved walking path along the river. The City plans to build a bridge across the river to connect all the additional parkland on the north side.
The trails will be built in partnership with the Woodstock Chapter of the Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association (SORBA) and their parent organization, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). IMBA-SORBA is a non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. The trail will consist of approximately eight to ten miles of contour built trail suitable for intermediate level riders and constructed using the IMBA standards for “sustainable trails”.
The City and SORBA have executed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) whereby the City will provide the land, major funding and infrastructure support. SORBA and its volunteers will provide the organization, leadership and technical expertise for the project and will design and layout the trail. A professional trail builder will be contracted to provide the heavy machine cutting of the trail. As segments are cut volunteers will follow the machine work and do the finishing hand work. Construction is expected to take about one year. After completion, SORBA will also provide ongoing maintenance of the trail system.
Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) also provided a $10,000 grant to SORBA in support of this project. The REI store in Kennesaw, Georgia has built a strong partnership with the Woodstock Chapter of SORBA and championed this grant request. REI, the nation's largest consumer cooperative with more than three million active members, has been an enthusiastic and generous supporter of mountain biking throughout the U.S.
The Woodstock Chapter of SORBA currently maintains a similar partnership with the Cherokee Recreation and Parks Agency (CRPA) at the Blankets Creek Mountain Bike Trails on Sixes Road in Woodstock. That park property located along the banks of Lake Allatoona is owned by the U.S.Army Corps of Engineers and is leased to Cherokee County. Long term plans are to connect the fifteen miles of trails at Blankets Creek with the new trails at Olde Rope Mill Park, creating a continuous trail riding experience in excess of 25 miles.
The City of Woodstock has targeted a multi-use trail system which includes bicycling as an environmentally friendly activity that can improve the quality of life for its residents and generate tax revenues through the eco-tourism it attracts. Assisting in the development of the system is the Greenprints Alliance, a grassroots citizen action group formed in spring 2009 to advance the City of Woodstock's green infrastructure master plan known as The Greenprints Project.When complete, the Project will add over 60 miles of trails throughout the City connecting every public place, shopping area and neighborhood.The advancement of the Project is designed to enhance the City's community, natural and economic resources for all generations.