Waits Way, a new half-mile trail running from the General Wait House north along the river, will soon join the Mad River Path Association’s network of trails. School and community members envisioned this path several years ago and organizers are thrilled to see it nearing completion.
Beginning at the General Wait House, the path tucks behind Waitsfield Elementary School and continues north along the riverside of the field until the turn-around spot near Route 100.
In 2014, the land accessed by this trail was purchased by the Mad River Path Association and donated to the school for future school uses. The path association retained a trail easement permitting the construction of a quarter-mile-long path behind the school. In addition to purchasing the land, the path association also received, by donation, a second quarter-mile-long trail easement across land located north of the school.
Combined, the two trail easements result in the construction of Waits Way, one-half mile of trail which will be sturdy enough to support bikers and hikers of all ages in exploring fields, wetlands and the river corridor. This one-half-mile section of path is being built by Sinuosity, a trail construction company, in the next couple of weeks. It will be 6 feet wide with a gravel base.
The new trail connects the school, Mad River Valley Visitor Center and Waitsfield’s growing sidewalk network.
No school or town funds were used to purchase the land or easement. Instead, the funding needed to complete the purchase was raised entirely from approximately 20 individual donors and the Waitsfield School PTA.
“We are all so grateful to the donors who made this collaborative and exciting community project a success and we’re so pleased to have Waits Way opening soon,” said Mad River Path Association board president Laura Brines. The path association also received an Active Transportation Grant to support the actual trail construction.
Waits Way will:
• Bolster Waitsfield Elementary School children’s connection with the natural environment.
• Connect Waitsfield Elementary School with the Mad River.
• Provide opportunities to expand spaces around the school for fun, exercise and learning.
• Provide visitors, arriving at the General Wait House Visitor Center, a short but accessible and scenic trail to visit upon arriving in the Valley.
• Improve physical activity and fitness.
• Enhance the Waitsfield sidewalk network.
The Mad River Path Association reminds everyone to stay on the path and respect Waitsfield Elementary School and the private landowners neighboring this new section. Dogs must be on leash. Parking for the path is available at the General Wait House or Waitsfield Elementary School, or park along the sidewalk on Route 100 or one of the other path trails that network with this new addition.
A grand opening celebration is being planned for sometime in August. Waitsfield Elementary School is also planning celebrations of and along the path throughout the coming school year.