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Eighty-three percent of respondents to a Mad River Path Association (MRPA) survey consider it important that the path be completed and share the feeling that the Mad River Path is a benefit for both residents and visitors.
Seventy-three people responded to the survey, which the board is using for future planning. Other survey highlights include
The Greenway (4.6-mile loop used for the Mad Dash -- trailhead on Meadow Road below Small Dog) was identified as the most used section of the path and has emerged as an important section to complete.
"With its visibility, accessibility and year-round use as a recreation trail, it is a priority. It is also an important corridor to the shopping and commercial zone in Waitsfield and is a good partner for the Safe Routes to Schools Program," said path spokesperson Laura Arnesen.
Two areas where improvement is needed are signage and maps. The MRPA has embarked on a sign-making project in collaboration with the Sugarbush Sign Shop to provide clear signage along completed sections of the path. This will include information kiosks and guidelines for users. Some pilot signage will be installed in the first phase of this project. For Phase II of the project, a grant application for additional signage has been submitted to the VT Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation and Trails program (RTP).
"The board has committed to an extensive 2009 membership drive. As a small nonprofit with an environmental interest, MRPA will try something new, namely an email outreach. To keep costs low and lessen the path's "footprint," renewal emails will be sent to current members," Arnesen explained.
"The board will also do a special outreach starting with emails to potential new members. The focal point of this membership drive is slated for the Mad Bash, Sunday, May 17, at the Lareau Farm Pavilion. There will be an opportunity to join that day, a discount on entrance if you have already joined and a special drawing just for current members," she continued.
When asked why people join, Dori Ingalls, Mad River Path Association president, responded: "People want to invest closer to home these days. The path gives kids, families, dog owners, bird watchers, seniors and others a free local recreational experience right next to our beautiful river. We are a Valley of outdoor enthusiasts and a tourist destination. The path helps keep our local economy strong by providing visitors with multiple outdoor options. Our goal is to double membership in 2009 and we have a great plan to make that happen."
"Our mission is to complete one connected path from Moretown School to Warren School," Arnesen added.
Donations to MRPA are tax deductible. For more information visit www.madriverpath.com or call 496-7284.