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SORBA Uhwarrie Moves Forward on Ride Center

ImageCity Lake Park in Albemarle, NC will be home to the first trail built for the Uhwarrie Ride Center project. City Lake Park is a passive-recreation park that opened in 2006. The 70-acre park has a wonderful small lake as a backdrop, and currently includes three picnic shelters, two floating boat docks, approximately one-half mile of paved walking trail and one mile of non-paved trails, a playground, and an amphitheatre. On October 5th, the park will officially open a two-and-a-quarter-mile, beginner-level mountain bike trail.

Brian Bristol, President of SORBA Uhwarrie, sees this project as the perfect opportunity to make mountain biking prevalent in the community, and demonstrate, on a smaller scale, the Ride Center to be built around Uhwarrie National Forest. "This mountain bike trail enhances the recreational opportunities available at the park, and will introduce more people to off-road riding. Mountain biking will become a community activity. This project began locally, inspired by the Adventure Girl Program, which encourages girls to be active runners, and now, bikers."

Funding for the mountain bike trail is possible through an RPT grant awarded to Albemarle Parks and Recreation, along with donations to SORBA Uwharrie through local businesses and organizations. "This funding model, bringing government, businesses, and volunteers together to create a community resource is the cornerstone of the Ride Center concept," says Bristol.

Georgia's White County Works to Enhance Mountain Biking in Their Area

The White County Department of Economic Development is working with IMBA/SORBA (International Mountain Bicycling Association and Southern Off-Road Bicycle Association) to outline proposals for off-road biking and multi-use trails throughout various locations in White County.

The project is progressing very well with the support of many volunteers, businesses, and other governmental personnel.

Woody at Woody's Mountain Bikes in Helen (706-868-3715) is very active in putting together a bike club which will help to design, implement and promote this project for our community and the region.

Natalie Culp of the White County Government Economic Development Office says, "Many people do not realize that having fun and staying healthy in the outdoors is essential to the continued growth of our economy. This portion of the tourism industry is often overlooked and needs to be recognized, stimulated, and supported. This project is just one more step which helps jumpstart economic development and benefit our community."

Night Riding

ImageEastern Daylight Savings Time ends on the first Sunday in November, 2008, and that is when night riding cranks up full time. It's dark out by the time most folks get out of work. But, suit up, bring out the lights, and hit these local trails listed after the break.

SORBA Creates First Provisional Chapter

ImageSORBA Tuscaloosa has been accepted by SORBA's Executive Board as the first provisional chapter in history. As a provisional chapter, SORBA Tuscaloosa has most rights and privileges of a regular chapter, but it lacks voting rights and an individual tax ID number. Provisional status allows the chapter to recruit members and raise donations until the next Board meeting, where they can apply for full chapter status. SORBA Tuscaloosa will be petitioning for full chapter status on November 22nd at the SORBA BOD meeting in Gainesville, GA.

"SORBA's Board meets only twice a year, which means that the Board can only create chapters once every six months. This wait was a stumbling block for new chapter formation. Pending chapters needed a faster way to recruit members, work with land managers, and raise funds for trail projects. Provisional status removes these obstacles, and gives the chapter a chance to prove its viability before the Board votes to confer full-chapter status on the club. This system works for the new chapter and for SORBA, so we're glad to welcome Tuscaloosa in this way," says Bob Grieco, SORBA President.

SORBA and Maxxis Team Up for Mountaintown Creek Work Party

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ImageOver 30 intrepid volunteers gathered on August 23rd to hike and clear the Mountaintown Creek Trail in the Chattahoochee-Oconee Forest outside of Ellijay, GA. Mountaintown Creek Trail is one of the more remote mountain biking trails in the forest, and one that mountain bikers hold near and dear for it's 5.6 miles of rocky, narrow, technical descent, laced with creek crossings. Riding this trail takes strength and skill, and hiking it does, too, especially when wielding trail tools.

Fontana Festival Takes Kids Mountain Biking

What's a great way for kids to enjoy the outdoors? Take them on a mountain bike ride. And that is just what happened on July 19th thanks to the organizers of the Fontana Fest. The Fontana Fest Mountain Bike Festival is a family-oriented fundraiser to benefit The Mountain Community School Bike Club. The festival features group rides to Tsali and Fontana Village trails, live music, games and contests, and much more. This year Rusty Sprocket Productions and Pisgah Area SORBA partnered to put on a kids ride.

The SORBA Trips for Kids bikes, which at stored at Gainesville State College, where loaded up and delivered to the event via the Subaru Tour de SORBA Forester. We fitted a few bikes at Fontana Village Saturday morning and then headed over to Tsali for a ride. It was a beautiful summer day to explore the Thompson loop trail. Tsali has long been a mountain bike destination in the southeast and we saw a few familiar faces, jerseys and bikes on the trail.

Mountaintown Creek Trail Proposal

ImageMountaintown Creek Trail is one of the oldest, most picturesque mountain bike trails in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests. Wild, narrow singletrack snakes down the mountain, tumbling over rocks and splashing across the creek. Flanked by verdant vistas, you keep your eyes focused on what lies ahead. Lose your focus, and the trail may trick you, throw you off. Mountaintown Creek demands your respect and attention-pay it or pay the price.

But, alas, at the end of the trail, the forest ends, and a stretch of private property, the Hills Lake neighborhood, lies between you and your car. This is a problem for anglers, hikers, and bikers alike, unless you want to turn around and climb up whence you came (a daunting task, at best). The Forest Service knows this is a problem for its users, and has begun to address the issue. The rangers of the Conasauga Ranger District,Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests have released a proposal to improve access to Mountaintown Creek Trail.

In summary, the USDA Forest Service proposes to route mountain bike traffic onto the existing Pinhoti Trail. The Pinhoti Trail intersects the Mountaintown Creek Trail about 1.7 miles up from the southern terminus, then turns north and follows the Mountaintown Creek trail to Forest Road 64. Mountain bikes are currently not allowed on this section of the Pinhoti Trail, and some rerouting of the trail is proposed to make the trail more suitable for mountain bike use. The Mountaintown Creek Trail below the Pinhoti Trail would be closed to mountain bikes and reserved for hikers. Also in this proposal, anglers would have a new trail built to the creek from the Bear Creek camping area parking lot. You can view the full proposal athttp://www.fs.fed.us/conf/sopa/recreation-nepa.htm.

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