Chapter Meeting Minutes - 5/18/10

Jay Wilkes opened the meeting pointing out that this is the first chapter meeting held at Olde Rope Mill Park, site of the Taylor Randahl Memorial Mountain Bike Trails. He also thanked Dan Thornton and Free-Flite Bicycles for cooking burgers and dogs for the meeting.

Jay talked about how successful the 2010 IMBA World Summit in Augusta, GA had been. He commented on how well regarded SORBA is in the IMBA family and how well managed and informative the summit was. SORBA, IMBA and the City of Augusta did a fine job hosting the event. The FATS trail system was a huge hit among attendees and earned high praise from Hans Rey who spoke to the summit about his new trail flow design and rating system.

Jay recognized the hard work Charlie Shultz has put into building the Taylor Randahl trails working alongside Stephen Mullins of Pro Trails. He also thanked Ken Nix for the work he has done recently, especially on the second stacked loop currently under construction.

On National Trails Day, 6/5/10, REI is sponsoring a work party at Olde Rope Mill Park with the goal of bringing 200 volunteers to help build the new trails. The Kennesaw and Perimeter stores have online signups for volunteers, the first 200 getting REI volunteer t-shirts. The work party will begin at 8:00 am. Crew leaders will meet at 7:30 am. Canyon Burgers will be generously providing lunch. The City of Woodstock will also have a presence at the park that day to draw attention to this wonderful addition to their park system.

Jay commented on the advocacy for preserving mountain bike access to the Mountaintown trail outside Ellijay. Mike Palmieri of Cartecay Bikes, is an outspoken advocate for this effort and shared his thoughts with Jay and others at the World Summit.

Scott Stewart announced that we will begin Dirty Thursday work parties after work, a couple of times per month. They will be about two hour time slots focused on small projects at Blankets Creek. The Dragon’s Tail re-route is first on the list of projects.

There continues to be discussion about dogs at Blankets Creek and the requirement that they be on a minimum 6 foot leash. We will continue to educate users about this requirement and work with the County about compliance.

Melanda Murchison has stepped up and volunteered to be our Events Coordinator. She talked about the VMT ride for newbies on Saturday at 10:30 am. There was discussion about having a chapter sponsored camping trip to FATS this year, likely in the fall when it is cooler. The Petersburg campground was a big hit with everyone who attended the World Summit. Riding the Bartram trails right out of camp is excellent and the FATS trails are just down the road.

Jay reported that the trail counters showed a significant increase in Dwelling riders, larger in relationship to the other trails than we have ever recorded. This likely indicates a surge in first time/beginner riders. Approximately 7,500 riders visited Blankets Creek in April.

Walt Bready and Robin Allen attended tonight’s meeting and also spoke highly of the World Summit experience. Walt was on hand to promote a contest for a Gary Fisher Hi-Fi. Winners must be a current IMBA-SORBA member as of December 2010.

The downhill/freeride projects at Blankets Creek are proceeding. A plan for the beginner DH on the old fire road has been submitted to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE). Work on the expert loop/South Loop extension is underway and promises to be a tremendous addition to the Blankets Creek riding experience.

The County has signed a contract with Ross Engineering to finalize the plans for the new trailhead at Blankets Creek. The concept plan created by Scott Gordon, former SORBA Woodstock President, is the basis for this great improvement to Blankets Creek. A revision to the master plan will be submitted to the USACOE. John Hicks met with the USACOE and the County Commissioners have blessed this project. The County is eager to move forward on this project as soon as possible. We are also in discussions with the County Commissioners about the plans for a connector trail between Blankets Creek and Olde Rope Mill Park.

Stephanie Bunkley attended the World Summit, too, focusing on learning more about high school racing and her efforts to partner with Reinhart College to use their trails as a race venue.

Jay adjourned the meeting.