Tom Mehuron and Bruce Hyde Jr, co-owners of Mehuron's Supermarket, Waitsfield, have announced a $25,000 gift to the Mad River Riders. The Mad River Riders is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to building and maintaining a multi-use four-season trail network in the Mad River Valley. The Mad River Riders' 58-mile network is open to the public and free to use for everyone.
The gift will be used to complete a new 1.5-mile trail linking The Valley floor to the existing network of trails in the Howe Block of Camel's Hump State Forest. The trail begins off Butternut Hill Road, crossing two pieces of land, one owned by Aaron Locker of Kingsbury Market Garden, and the other by William Gault and Robert Wallace of Massachusetts, who have allowed access to the public. The Mad River Valley Community Fund also contributed to the conservation of Kingsbury Farm and access to part of the trail.
Work began in September, with substantial help from GMVS students, Mad River Riders’ members and Kingsbury Construction which donated the services of an excavator and operator, and a crew of their employees for a full day. The trail is scheduled to be finished and opened in May 2021, thanks to this donation from Mehuron's, explained Mad River Riders’ board member June Anderson.
Mehuron's, a family-owned and run business, celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2016.
“Over its long history, Mehuron's has served the community with high quality food, including choices from many local farms. They give back to the community in other ways too, like supporting local non-profit organizations, and paying livable wages and providing health insurance to their employees,” Anderson said.
"The Mad River Riders, especially over the last few years, have built an incredible community resource with their trail network. The Riders work closely with local landowners, public land managers and environmental organizations to build sustainable trails that hold up in extreme weather and under heavy use. I personally enjoy running on their trail network. The new trail is going to be great, starting next to a local farm and climbing up into our local state forest," Hyde said
The new Butternut Trail will improve connections from The Valley floor to higher elevation trails including the popular Enchanted Forest and Evolution trails. It will enable hikers and bikers to travel from the Mad River to as far as Lincoln Peak.
"We really appreciate this incredibly generous gift from Mehuron's, our beloved local grocery and hub of our community. It will enable us to not just complete this new trail, but it will free up funds to allow us to complete other projects, like refurbishing the network at Blueberry Lake, expanding our kid's biking program (the Rippers), and starting a new free women's mountain biking program,” Anderson added.
The Mad River Riders have grown substantially over their 30-year history; they now have 632 members and donate over 3,500 hours of volunteer work to the local community each year. In 2020, the Riders invested more than $80,000 directly into the trail network. Local support, such as the Mehuron’s donation, enables the Riders to continue promoting safe, healthy, outdoor recreation for locals and visitors alike.