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SORBA Board of Directors Conducts Fall Meeting

ImageSORBA's Board of Directors met on November 22nd, at the Elachee Nature Center in Gainesville, Georgia. We had a full house, too, with a record-breaking 23 chapters represented! The meeting began at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast and coffee and didn't break up til after 8 p.m. and pizza. In between was a full day of speakers, discussions, and votes.

Tom Sauret, SORBA Executive Director, started with a meeting overview and agenda review. After Secretary Renee Martinez took roll, Tom discussed the realingnment of existing chapters, which was brought on by insurance costs. The Macon and Rabun Counties chapter has been dissolved, and Macon County members have been moved to At Large memberships, pending the creation of a new chapter in their area. Rabun County members are now part of the Upper Chattahoochee Cycling Club chapter. SoFA has been disbanded, and their members have been reassigned to their geographically-closest chapter. The Board then voted to accept Tuscaloosa SORBA as a full chapter. With a new president at the table, the Board then set the date and location for the next meeting as February 28th at FATS, with the Central Savannah River Area chapter hosting. The November 2009 meeting will possibly be hosted by Uwharrie, with the details to be set at the February meeting.

Bob Grieco, acting SORBA President upon the relocation of Eric Hunter to Portland, Oregon, then spoke, turning his focus on the presidents, asking the chapter representatives what their most pressing concerns were. Some of the responses included access to community resources, and that land managers were demanding better organization. Grieco said the focus of the Executive Board is to support the chapters, and he hopes to get to know them better, and address their individual concerns directly, in the coming year

National Parks Service Seeks Public Input on Chattahoochee National Recreation Area

ImageThe National Parks Service is soliciting public input on their Supplemental Draft General Plan/Environmental Impact Statement for the Chattahoochee NRA. SORBA has been very involved in this process, and will remain involved as the plan is adopted and implemented in the years to come. A public input meeting held on October 30th drew 40 participants; half of those present were SORBA members.

The current preferred plan is Alternative F. Alternative F has delineated zones in the park, and assigns appropriate recreational activities for the zones. Off-road cycling is allowed in all but two zones in this plan. Although SORBA generally supports Alternative F as the preferred alternative, we continue to stand behind our long-term objection to the exclusion of bicycling from certain management categories. In particular, this exclusion precludes any possible development of bicycle trails (paved or un-paved) within the Bowmans Island unit of the CRNRA. Bowmans Island is located in a rapidly growing area of Gwinnett and Forsyth Counties where the need for mixed-use, trail-based and dispersed recreation opportunities are great.

Keeping Bowmans Island closed to bicycling inhibits any potential development of long-distance cycling trails along the Chattahoochee River corridor connecting Lake Lanier (and Army Corps of Engineers property) to the downstream units of the CRNRA. Such a connection would be a very important and sought-after recreation opportunity that would greatly enhance the quality of life in the neighboring communities. This prohibition also seems to conflict with the NPS’s own initiatives through the Rivers and Trails Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA) and the management mission of a National Recreation Area.

SORBA-Huntsville's Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew Visit

ImageOver the Halloween weekend, SORBA-Huntsville was graced by a visit from Kelly and Collins Bishop of the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew (TCC). We started off on a cold Thursday night, gathered in the Monte Sano State Park Lodge. A crackling fire, plenty of food, and camaraderie kept us nice and warm. We discussed and brainstormed ways to improve our club from its origins as a trail building group to a well-rounded group equally divided between advocacy, socializing, and trail work. Adding to the mix, and broadening the discussion, were the folks from the Southeastern Climbing Coalition (SCC), and private bike parks.

On Saturday, forty-plus people attended the TCC’s trail building school. Representatives from diverse user groups attended, including hikers, and bikers, as well as land managers. Attendees came from Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and, of course, Sweet Home Alabama. This great event was co-hosted by the Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama and SORBA-Huntsville.

During the first four hours of the school we learned sustainable trail construction and maintenance. Our hosts from the Land Trust kept us well-fed and awake with Starbucks coffee, donuts, fruit, veggies, crackers & cheese, and water. The thrill factor kept us going, too, with several hundred dollars in door prizes given away. We won hats, water bottles, t-shirts, gloves, sweatshirts, lunch boxes, gift certificates, and more. We cannot thank our sponsors enough--Fleet Feet Huntsville, Bicycle Etc., Trailhead, Inc., 1st Place Athletic, ClifBar, Mountain High Outfitters, and the SCC.

2009 SORBA Calendar

Details after the break.

 

 

Why Join SORBA

Image"Why should I join SORBA? All I get is a newsletter", is a question that I've heard many times over the years. The number one reason in my book is because you love mountain biking. Joining SORBA ensures that you have great places to ride and great people to ride with. But, of course, that isn't the only reason.

Public officials prefer to deal with organizations, and the bigger and stronger your organization, the better. Land managers do not wake up in the morning and say to themselves, "I think I'll put a mountain bike trail in my park today." You have to ask for them, and, like as not, you will have to build and maintain them. Land managers want to know that you are serious, and that you will follow through on what you promise.

Belonging to SORBA, an organization with a 20-year track record, gives you clout. Part of that clout comes from being able to say that SORBA has 4,000 members. We are not new, we are not fly-by-night, and we have support from mountain bikers who show their support through membership. Even if you never attend an event or pick up a shovel, you enhance mountain biking opportunities in your area by being a member.

Members build trails. No, you don't have to be a SORBA member to help build a trail, but it's the members who keep coming back, week after week, month after month, year after year, to get it done. If you're riding on a SORBA trail, like as not, it was built by members. If you want more trail, join SORBA.

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