What is your relation to the Mad River Valley?
Saxton: As the Mad River Path's executive director, I plan and build new paths and trails between Moretown, Waitsfield, Fayston and Warren. We're working to connect all the towns with one continuous pathway with sections that link people to special places. I'm also improving existing paths and trails to help people develop a meaningful relationship with our natural world so that folks feel motivated to protect our local wildlife and beautiful landscape. Outside of my work at Mad River Path, my family and I are in The Valley's outdoors all the time between hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, fishing, hunting, gardening and foraging for wild foods.
Why do you think environmental stewardship is important, and why do you think stewardMRV in particular is?
Saxton: The Mad River Valley's natural world (and relative lack of development) is an enormous part of what makes our corner of Vermont so amazing and why many of us live here. It's also why people from all over the world love visiting and spending time here. Literally, the Mad. River Valley economy depends on our mountains, forests, rivers and meadows looking pristine and intact and functioning naturally. Being excellent stewards of our land is super important so that our local businesses get the support they need to stay open and become more successful. Even just a few months into existing, the stewardMRV initiative is bringing together the organizations and entities responsible for maintaining our access sites to the outdoors: trailheads, swimming holes, fishing areas and the trails themselves. Keeping these sites well maintained and as ecological friendly as possible is a big job and requires collaboration; stewardMRV is helping us work together effectively while giving everyone in the community the opportunity to be stewards of the outdoors. Simply put, the better stewards we all are of our outdoors the better life is here for everyone. StewardMRV provides a platform for all of us to be great stewards.