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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Why the Mad River Path needs your support


By Carol Thompson

I opened last week's <MI>Valley Reporter<D> and saw Keith Davidson's cartoon mentioning the fate of public transportation.... "Where are you headed?  Nowhere," it said. At the bottom of the list was mentioned "Continuous Bike/Rec Path" as one of the ill-fated projects. 

To set the record straight, the Mad River Path is alive and well and making steady progress to complete the mission that has been pushing our small, non-profit organization forward for over 20 years. The winter of 2007-2008 was spent working on the following projects:

•  Developing a "path protection package" that has already been presented to many landowners and will ultimately be offered to everyone who owns property on the proposed route of the path. Ultimately, we wish to obtain legal easements that will preserve the path in perpetuity.

•  Working with Linda Lloyd, MRV planning district's director, who put completion of the path as her number-one priority. A recently submitted grant application to the federal byways program includes the purchase of a key piece of property in Warren that will put one more piece of the connectivity puzzle into place.

•  Completing the Village Path in Irasville. We are working with three different landowners and will hopefully be given our first legal trail easement by early summer. This section of the path will connect the Big Picture Theater and the Open Hearth Community Center with the Skatium, the Mad River Green Shopping Center and Evergreen Place.

•  Gathering support from the towns of Waitsfield, Warren and Fayston. We have attended select board meetings, conservation commission meetings and spoken to a lawyer representing one of the towns. Our discussions, which are focused on securing a permanent route for the path, have included town-held easements as well as co-held easements.

•  Improving our website -- www.madriverpath.org.
•  Working with Steve Gladczuk, transportation planner from the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission, to put together a path map showing existing, conceptual and alternative routes for our trails.

•  Taking our commitment to trail excellence one step further by hiring a part-time trail manager who will make trail construction and maintenance a top priority. He will be working with local schools and organizations, where in the past all of this work was done by volunteers.

•  Our community support is indeed growing -- a fact evidenced by the addition of four new and energetic board members.  

If you really want a continuous bike/rec path then become a member and help us achieve our goal. It takes a Valley to raise a path and we can't do it without you!  

Thompson is the director of the Mad River Path Association.

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