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not so super...
11,466 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

To those interested in changing the Master plan for the Yellow River MTB trails We can do something to save the Yellow River Creek Side trails from the fate of the River Side. The Park officials have responded to the string of e-mails they have gotten from concerned mountain bikers about the changes on the River Side. There is a possibility to negotiate the future of the Creek Side. There will be more meetings, but to be effective we must keep up the pressure. YOU can help by doing the following:
  • Be polite but be firm!
  • E-mail, write and call the Park and County officials listed below.
  • Tell them you are tax paying citizens and don't feel like you are being represented. These parks are yours!
  • You want the Yellow River Creek Side MTB trails to be re-master planned with input from SORBA.
  • You want sustainable, intermediate level trails constructed by a qualified MTB trails builder - not a landscape contractor with a bulldozer.
GCPR Directors:
Phil Hoskins: 770-822-8890 [email protected]
Grant Guess: 770-822-8855 [email protected]
Sharon Plunkett: 770-822-8875 [email protected]

Also contact the county commissioners.

District 1: Lorraine Green: 770-822-7001 [email protected]
District 2: Bert Nasuti: 770-822-7002 [email protected]
District 3: Mike Beaudreau: 770-822-7003 [email protected]
District 4: Kevin Kenerly: 770-822-7004 [email protected]

Sample letter:

Dear Commissioner (xxxxxxx),

I am a Gwinnett County resident and Tax payer in District (x). I frequent the few Gwinnett County parks that feature mountain bike trails and I am disappointed in the recent modifications made to the trails at Yellow River Park.

For years, mountain bikers from across the metropolitan area have come to Gwinnett County to experience the mountain bike trails at Yellow River Park. The park offered up to 10+ miles of trails that were suitable for Beginning through Advanced riders. Recent modifications and plans will reduced the amount of available trails to approximately 5 miles and will be best suited for beginning riders only.

As an intermediate and advanced rider I must now travel to Hall, Rockdale, Forsyth and Fulton counties to find trails that meet my needs. As a result, money that I would have normally spent in Gwinnett County on bikes, bike accessories, fuel, meals and other purchases potentially go to support the economy of other counties.

I ask you to strongly encourage Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation to seek and implement input from mountain bikers of Gwinnett County and the organization that represents us - SORBA (Southern Off Road Bicycle Association). Specifically, I am asking this in relation to Yellow River, Tribble Mill and the future Harbins Park. All of these parks provide an opportunity to serve the needs of an already large and growing HEALTHY outdoor activity for young and old in Gwinnett County.

The Atlanta Chapter of SORBA, which currently represents riders in the Gwinnett County area, represents the interest of 550+ mountain bikers of which 100+ members are Gwinnett County residents and Tax payers. These riders also support 7 cycling business in the County. There is great potential to attract many more members with better trail systems.

SORBA is a 501.C3 organization that supports local mountain bikers and their communities with:

  • Trail Work Parties - Trained Volunteers who provide labor to develop and maintain sustainable trails in the parks.
  • Mountain Bike Patrols - Trained Volunteers who regularly patrol local mountain bike trails to provide assistance to all trail users in need and report hazardous situations or illegal activity to the authorities.
  • Event Organizing - Plan, conduct and supervise small and large events that encourage healthy life styles, promote cycling and the use of the County Parks within the community.
Again, I ask you to strongly encourage the Directors of the County Parks and Recreation Department to seek and implement input from mountain bikers of Gwinnett County.


Concerned SORBA member and constituent.
Phone Number

avg. joe
657 Posts
I bet it will...

Al. said:
Sean - will letters/calls from non-Gwinett residents have any impact?
Part of the letter addresses money spent within the county vs. money that will be spent at other cycling locations. Non-Gwinnettian money spends just as well as Gwinnettian money, so darn near any cyclist coming into the county will by gas, Gatorade, food, etc. pre-ride or post ride.

Just my hunch.

1 Posts
Sick about the destruction of Yellow River

What they are doing to Yellow River makes me want to puke. The problem is that the people in charge actually think they are doing what the bike riders want. It is pathetic. We need a trail advocate voice in Gwinnett County.

1 Posts
Is Gwinnett County aware that on any weekday evening and any Saturday or Sunday the parking lot was always packed. It is obvious that the trails are drawing the people to them that like them the way they were. Gwinnett County does not need to change anything. Let SORBA volunteers maintain the trails and make sensible improvements. The golf cart style paths do not belong at Yellow River, they belong in the country club style communities. :mad:

not so super...
11,466 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
auee92 said:
What they are doing to Yellow River makes me want to puke. The problem is that the people in charge actually think they are doing what the bike riders want. It is pathetic. We need a trail advocate voice in Gwinnett County.
Which means we need riders like you to become active in SORBA. Don't stand on the sidelines waiting for someone else to make it happen!!

59 Posts
Well, I joined the ranks of the people who were contacting Gwinnett County Officials and it seems as if that dead horse is coming back to life. Here is an email I received yesterday.

Gwinnett County
Department of Community Services
Parks and Recreation Project Administration
(770) 822-8840
Fax: (770) 822-8748
Email: [email protected]

May 16, 2005
Concerned Yellow River Park Mountain Bikers:

This is a follow up to previous communications regarding the Yellow River Park Project. For some this may be a repeat of some information that you have already received, but there is new information as well.
There have been several concerns brought up regarding the work at Yellow River Park.
We are following the adopted Master Plan for the park. The Master Plan is for the ultimate build-out for the park. The Master Plan began with a public meeting on December 3, 2001. All those attending were asked their opinions of recreation opportunities that they would like to see in this open space park. From those that were interested, a committee of twenty citizens was selected to act as a steering committee to assist in the planning for the park. The committee consisted of mountain bikers and equestrians as well as neighbors to the park and citizens interested in other outdoor activities. This committee was furnished with tabulated results from the public meeting as well as information from the Needs Assessment Survey prepared in 1995 by the A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Service at Kennesaw State University. This is a statistically valid telephone survey of Gwinnett's residents identifying needs and issues relating to parks and recreation. (There is a more recent Needs Assessment Survey (completed in 2003, also done by the A. L. Burruss Institute) is available on the web at: In addition to this information the committee took two Saturdays to tour the Yellow River Park Site and other parks including a number that have mountain biking trails. The Master Plan for this park can be viewed at the following web site:
The current phase is for the land west of the yellow River but does not include the playground, pavilion and restroom building shown near the multipurpose trail.
Let me first address some misinformation that comes up from time to time regarding the trail work being done at the park.
There are concerns that most of the trails are to be paved or are to have a gravel surface. This is not correct. The one-mile multipurpose paved trail that you now see near Juhan Road is the only paved trail in the park. The remainder of the trails in the park are natural (dirt) trails. The only exception to this is that we have allowed the contractor to distribute mulch that is produced on the site to be used on some pedestrian only trails. There are no gravel trails.
There are rumors that we have had no input from the Southern Off Road Bicycle Association (SORBA). We have been in contact with SORBA through our design team and as a department. The designer had numerous meetings with Mike Riter of SORBA regarding trail construction and maintenance. Our department is working with SORBA regarding trails at Tribble Mill Park as well as at Yellow River. We have recently contacted Mr. Mike Riter again and had him review our plans on site. His account of this meeting is attached.
We have been looking at concerns that the challenge will be removed from the Creek Side Mountain Biking Trails if we continue to follow our current design. These are genuine concerns and our first step in addressing them was the above-mentioned meeting with Mr. Riter. We will be working with Mr. Riter regarding staking the creek side trails and will be seeing if it is possible for his further involvement with the current contractor. If you have received this email you will be updated regarding future results of this negotiation.
We are trying to address items that will maintain the challenge of the trails and address our concerns regarding the sustainability of the trials and erosion control.
Grant Guess
Division Director

I was recently asked to attend a meeting set up by the landscape architect who designed the new trail system at Yellow River Park and several representatives from Gwinnett County. The meeting was driven by an attempt to address a number of negative responses from the off road cycling community to the changes being made to the trails at the park. The complaints ranged from what users felt were excessive width, and a perceived loss of challenge. The goal of the meeting was to look at the existing trails and see if the planned changes could/would answer some of the complaints the users had.

After reviewing the plans and walking the trails on what is known as "Creek Side" I have come to a few conclusions: first, while some trail along the creek will be lost, several trails will be lengthened to increase sustainability, therefore the overall mileage will be very similar to the existing system. I was surprised at how much of the existing system will be left intact with improvements made only to ensure sustainability. One of my suggestions was that the width of the trails remain as close as possible to what is termed "single track" I was assured that every attempt would be made to address this concern. While some of the steep fall line trails will be rerouted to the contours the challenge level can still be accommodated by leaving well place rocks and the occasional log. Natural technical challenge does not have to be driven by grade it can be promoted through longer sustained grades and natural features in the trail tread.

Safety is another concern brought up and my answer to that was to provide reasonable access by creating cleared corridors similar to what might be seen on trails SORBA builds and maintains. Emergency personnel can access any part of the trail by ATV or light utility vehicle without having excessively wide trails.

My overall impression was good. The county is putting their best foot forward by taking a good hard look at how to make the best of the trails there, provide everyone with a great experience, and yet minimize impacts, and erosion. In the end I envision the potential for a trail system on the Creek Side similar to the Olympic Course in Conyers or the old AG Center trail in Gainesville.

Mike Riter
GA State Trails Education Specialist
Trail Design Specialists
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