There are some great collaborations underway in The Valley recently. Some are new and others are longstanding.

Let’s start with the work undertaken on the Mad River Greenway near Meadow Road in Waitsfield last week to improve access to the Mad River and prevent erosion. This was a project proposed by the Northern Forest Canoe Trail in tandem with Friends of the Mad River and the Mad River Path.

Located in the backyard of Neck of the Woods child care, it also offered a great opportunity to kids to learn about riparian access plus the bonus of learning how to use levers to move big rocks. A solid win.

The stewardMRV initiative is another multi-organization project led by the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce working with 20 other local and regional organizations to pro-actively steward The Valley’s outdoor recreation access points including trailheads and swimming access points. These sites saw heavy usage prior to the pandemic and then usage soared during the pandemic as people sought ways to get outside for recreation. StewardMRV partners are working with public and private sites, policing garbage and dog waste and installing (and managing) trash, recycling and port-a-lets. This initiative involves the Mad River Trails Collaborative, Friends of the Mad River, the Mad River Path and many others. It’s another solid win for all of us.

Recently the Mad River Path announced plans to work with Yestermorrow to develop a new section of the path on land behind the Waitsfield-based design build school. More working together to achieve shared goals.

The Mad River Recreation District is spearheading an effort involving multiple local groups, including the chamber of commerce and the Mad River Riders, to explore the possibility of a Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaboration grant that could lead to a pedestrian/bike bridge over the Mill Brook behind the Localfolk Smokehouse and connecting Irasville and Waitsfield Village to a critical trail network as well as a trail hub and information kiosk.

These efforts demonstrate how connected all of our efforts are in every arena whether it is recreational, environmental, educational or involved with enhancing what we offer to visitors and residents.

We are fortunate that so many people are willing to participate and to work with their friends and neighbors on how to make our Valley a better place on every level.