The first of what should become many celebrations of the scenic beauty of the Mad River Byway took place this past weekend during the official dedication of the eight-mile section of Route 100B as the first Vermont Byway under the federally administrated National Scenic Byway Program.The ceremony at the Moretown Recreation Field was the result of months of planning by several Moretown citizens and local officials for several enhancement strategies that eventually may include village sidewalks, traffic calming and streetscape improvements and scenic viewshed planning and preservation.
Included in the plans are the development of highway pull-offs and river access, plus recreational paths. Already a favorite biking route, Route 100B's enrollment in the scenic program should improve and enhance many additional recreational efforts.
Taking part in the dedication were State Representatives Maxine Grad and Anne Donahue and Moretown Select Board member Don Wexler. They read the official resolution of the state legislature dedicating the byway.
Several Moretown locations were visited by supporters including the Moretown Library and Moretown Historical Society, the Stevens Brook Cemetery, the Ward Memorial Fishing Access and the old Taplin School, considered to be one of the finest examples of an existing one-room schoolhouse in the state.
Wexler said that the school's location on 100B just south of the Green Mountain power generating station may have several uses under the byway program, including that of an informational kiosk, a site for historical displays, as well as restoration of the interior as a 19th-century schoolhouse. The building is owned by the power company.
Steve Gladczuk, a Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission transportation planner and a Mad River Valley resident, is coordinating the committee's development of two kiosks and signage along the byway, which is being financed by a $39,000 federal grant.
Sunday's festivities included hikes on recreation paths east of the elementary school, led by Steve Sharp, chair of the Moretown Planning Commission, Steve Lawson and Carol Thompson of the Mad River Path Association.
Also present at the ceremonies were members of the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition, which conducted inspections of bicycles for safety. Entertainment was by the Bruce Sklar jazz ensemble. Donors of prizes were the Moretown Landfill, American Flatbread, Stark Mountain Bike Works, Mad River Glen and Red Hen Baking Company.