(Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia- December 19th 2021)
The Boards of SORBA West Georgia and MTB Atlanta, the Atlanta Chapter of the Southern Off Road Bicycle Association, have voted to merge Chapters in order to better serve their membership, mountain bikers and the trail community at large in Metro Atlanta.
Both Boards had meetings to weigh the benefits of joining the Chapters together and after a period of over a year both boards have voted to approve the merger. The SORBA Executive Board voted and approved the merger at their December Board meeting. All three Board votes were unanimous.
Recently MTB Atlanta and SORBA West Georgia partnered together with the Southeastern Trust for Parks and Land to open the new trails at Pumpkinvine Nature Park in Paulding County. This work cemented the relationship between Board members and was an amazing step forward for the merger as well as an incredible new asset for the County.
The Board of SORBA West Georgia sent this letter to their members with positive feedback:
Over the last couple of years, the SORBA West Georgia board of directors has worked hard to advocate for better trails in Cobb and Paulding County. Our vision for the future includes a regional trail system that weaves its way through multiple counties and cities. Although we have made great strides toward that vision, we feel there is a better way to accomplish our goals. The current structure for SORBA chapters only allows you to be a member of one chapter. In a metropolitan area like Atlanta where riders regularly travel all over to ride, it’s hard to understand which chapter does what and who you should support with your money and volunteer time. We believe this fragmentation is not conducive to proper growth of our sport and adds extra steps to the already daunting process of new trails. Convincing a wide array of municipalities and stakeholders of the need for more trails isn’t always easy. Activating each individual project and then raising funds is a whole other animal and something that the current board needs help with. Also, the logistical chores of running a chapter can sometimes be a strain on our small group of volunteers. We feel our community deserves better and have been brainstorming ways to get more done for our ridership. So, after a couple years of deliberation and continued consultation with previous board members, the current board is now suggesting that for the health and future growth of our cycling community, we should merge back into the larger regional organization of MTB Atlanta. We believe this move will allow us to accomplish our goal of a bigger better regional trail system and we are fully convinced that this merger is a win-win situation for both chapters.
The MTB Atlanta group (SORBA Atlanta) already spans a wide portion of the state and is headed by Brett Davidson, the Executive Director, and Chris Doane, the President. They excel at courting municipalities, developing relationships with land managers, and most importantly grant writing and fundraising. Over the years they have cultivated a great reputation around the southeast with stakeholders and we hope to leverage these relationships to help bring some of our projects to fruition quicker. One such example where new trail opportunities exist in our area includes the Paulding Forest WMA, which is owned by the City of Atlanta and could potentially be home to over 100 miles of multi-use trails. Over the years, MTB Atlanta has a developed a great working relationship with the City of Atlanta and brings with them a long track record of getting things done. Another example is their working relationship and MOU with the Southeast Trust for Parks and Land, which is an awesome nonprofit group dedicated to creating new park spaces including a couple properties in Paulding and Dallas. We have met with them many times and even worked together on a joint project at the brand-new Pumpkin Vine Creek Trails in Dallas. We think by joining together we can begin removing some of the fragmentation in the community and allowing for a stronger more united voice.
Although everyone on the board is in favor of the merger, we would like to give our members an opportunity to weigh in before the board officially votes on the matter. Please feel free to respond to this email with any questions or concerns and we will get back to you immediately. We will hold a short workday at the newly built Pumpkin Vine Creek Trail in Dallas on Saturday 11/20, and we’ll also be co-hosting a special trail ride and cookout on Sunday 11/21 where you can come hang out with both our board and some of the MTB Atlanta crew. It will be a great opportunity to ask questions and ride a fun new trail. We hope to see you there and can’t wait to start a whole new chapter of great trails for our riding community.”
The Board of SORBA West Georgia
” We are excited to work with Cobb and Paulding Parks and to continue the amazing work that the county staffs of both departments and the advocates of SORBA West Georgia have achieved. We thank all the previous volunteer Board members and the volunteers of SORBA West Georgia for their service and hard work over the years building great trails and an incredible community in Cobb and Paulding Counties. We want to especially thank the the most recent Board of Chuck Kirk, Josh Camp, Jamie Youngblood, Wes Ledford, and Shane Shockley and look forward to Josh and Jamie joining our Board to continue to serve as Advocacy Directors in Cobb and Paulding Counties respectively,” says MTB Atlanta President Chris Doane.
MTB Atlanta will now serve Fulton, Dekalb, Gwinnett, Cobb, Paulding, Douglas, Bartow, Pickens, Rockdale, Walton, Barrow, Newton, Fayette, Clayton, Henry, Spalding, Coweta, Meriwether, Heard, Troup, Carroll, Haralson and Polk Counties.
Our sister Chapters in Metro Atlanta, SORBA Woodstock and the Roswell Alpharetta Mountain Bike Organization (RAMBO) will continue to serve Cherokee County and Roswell, Alpharetta and Forsyth County respectively.
The trails of Allatoona Creek Park, Pitner Road Bike Park, Lost Mountain, Mount Tabor, Sara Babb will be added to Sope Creek, North Cooper Lake, Yellow River, Harbins Park, Tribble Mill, Pumpkinvine Nature Park, Talking Rock Nature Park, Sykes Park, Southside Park, South Rockdale Park, Clinton Nature Preserve, Carrollton Off Road Greenbelt, Cochran Mill Park, Moore’s Bridge, Chattahoochee Bend State Park, Brown’s Mill Battlefield, Cannongate Nature Park, Newnan Linc Rollercoaster, and Quarry’s Edge to form the “MTB Atlanta Trail Network,” a network of over 150 miles of trails on public lands that were advocated for, built and maintained by MTB Atlanta.
” The days of one SORBA Chapter per trail system or county are over in Metro Atlanta as far as I see it and our Board agrees,” says MTB Atlanta Executive Director Brett Davidson. “As advocates we need to work strategically to leverage resources, membership goals, funding and staff to ‘fill out the map’ in Metro Atlanta and the City so that we can achieve our mission of ‘more trails close to home’ by building and maintaining trail systems or bike park facilities in every county in Metro Atlanta. Fifteen years ago when the sport was young, you needed to form a SORBA Chapter to get one trail built. Think about Blankets Creek. The Dwelling Loop was built by hand and took almost a year to finish. SORBA Woodstock was formed to build that trail- fifty paying members and a volunteer Board. Can’t do that anymore. The sport is growing exponentially and the demand for new trails on public lands is the highest it has ever been because of the pandemic and the growth of the Georgia Cycling League Middle and High School mountain bike teams. We have to work smarter for our members and the ridership of Metro Atlanta at large. Our Board is ready to better serve Metro Atlanta and to expand our sport into the many counties and communities in the Metro that do not have trails for mountain biking all while maintaining the over 150 incredible miles of trails that we have built over the past 30 years.”
MTB Atlanta’s Board has voted to keep the SORBA West Georgia 501c3 status active for the possibility of spinning off a sister Chapter in the Western part of the State in the future.
If you are a current member of West Georgia your membership will be transferred to MTB Atlanta. Remember to renew your membership annually and we will see you at a meeting, volunteer event, ride or out on the trails real soon!