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Mountain Biking Ridership Explodes at Blankets and Rope Mill

 

By Gary Moore

The Blankets Creek Mountain Bike Trails, located just outside of Atlanta in Canton, Georgia, is known as one of the most heavily visited mountain bike parks in the Southeast. According to the Trafx infrared counter installed at the trailhead, Blankets Creek saw a rise in annual riders from 64,095 in 2010 to 83,750 in 2011--a 29% increase. Some of this growth at Blankets Creek can be attributed to the opening of Quehl Holler, a downhill flow line trail, and the commitment by the local SORBA chapter to providing more flow and trail features on the existing trails.

This increase comes in conjunction with a still growing attendance at the nearby Taylor Randahl Memorial Mountain Bike Trails, located just two miles upstream in the Little River corridor. SORBA Woodstock, which manages both trail systems, has completed the first eight miles of the Taylor Randahl Trails. Opened in July 2010, this trail system’s ridership has surged 250%! This system provides Beginner and Intermediate level trails to bikers in Woodstock’s Old Rope Mill Park.

In an effort to serve this unquestionable growth in demand for mountain biking opportunities in the area, the Cherokee County Commisioners, along with the support of Cherokee County voters, are directing a portion of the $90 million Park Bond referendum to be used to greatly improve the trailhead at Blankets Creek. The plan calls for an expansion of the parking lot from 75 parking spaces to 175, as well as adding permanent bathroom/changing rooms, festival lawn, gazebos, filtered water fountain and a bike wash. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in July of this year and should take approximately six months to complete.