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08/06/2009

By Jane Haser, intern

A group of six dedicated Mad River Path enthusiasts gathered July 23 to continue work on a boardwalk that will connect a section of path behind the Big Picture Theater to a section behind Shaw's.

Harrison Snapp and Fred Gilbert are two of the many integral volunteers who have spent years working to connect the four segments of The Valley via the ongoing Mad River Path expansion effort.

Snapp and Gilbert, dubbed "Mr. and Mrs. Path" by fellow volunteer Michael Ware, gathered several volunteers to work on the boardwalk in yet another push to carry out the path association's mission statement.

The mission of the Mad River Path Association is "to build, maintain, support and conserve a system of continuous public pathways from Warren to Moretown to foster a healthy community by connecting the people, schools, businesses and special places of the Mad River Valley."

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As Ware expressed, there is constant momentum in an effort to accomplish the goals of the path: "We are working to get all our chickens in a line so to speak," he said.

Among the many goals of the path association is two to three miles of "safe routes" paths designed to allow safe travel to and from school between Moretown Village and Harwood Union High School. The completion of the boardwalk and construction of additional trail-specific signage are also priorities in the path's mission and ongoing expansion efforts.

Achieving the many goals of the path association is dependent upon acquiring landowner permission. The MRPA faces the challenge of garnering the support of private landowners in order to connect several sections of the path.

"Why don't the farmers want the path on their property? The path is something that's good for the community," Gilbert said.

"People want a path, but they don't want to build it," Gilbert explained.

The Mad River Path Association is a nonprofit, member-supported organization. Most of the work that goes into the path expansion effort is the result of the community member support working to accomplish the final goal: connecting the community. 

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