All are welcome to join the Mad River Park and Path celebration on October 4, 5 to 7 p.m. at the Mad River Park recreation fields. There will brief remarks at 5:15 p.m., followed by a kick off and dedication of the new pavilion and path, a group walk around the ½-mile path loop, possible pick-up games and light refreshments. This event will be held rain or shine.
The Mad River Park recreation fields, once a quarry and an airfield for small planes, are now a vital part of the Mad River Valley’s recreational landscape and community life. The fields were acquired by the Mad River Valley Recreation District in 2017 with the support of local volunteers and donors, funding from the towns of Waitsfield, Warren, Fayston and Moretown, and a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant Program.
Long used as the home fields for Mad River Valley Soccer and Mad River Lacrosse, thousands of local youth have grown up at Mad River Park — gaining skills as athletes and making lifelong friendships. In an effort to enhance the park as a community treasure and to provide recreational opportunities for all ages, the Mad River Valley Recreation District has partnered with the Mad River Path Association to establish a mowed ½-mile recreational trail loop around the playing fields.
The community purchase of Mad River Park had added significance given the October 2016 loss of five local high school students -– all of whom played sports at Mad River Park. In their honor, Charlie Hosford created five memorial benches along the path, with memory plaques donated by Wood & Wood.
A small group formed to design and build a post and beam pavilion to show appreciation for all the support the Mad River Valley community demonstrated through such a difficult time.
“As we come upon the two-year anniversary of the passing of the five local teens what better way to honor them than by creating a gathering place for the present and future athletes of our little Valley, the pavilion grew out of the tremendous spirit provided by the generous time of local craftsmen and merchants. It is the crowning jewel of the park. Cyrus, Eli, Janie, Liam and Mary thrived and competed at Mad River Park. Their passion for the game will radiate on the fields for many generations to come,” said Laura Brines, who organized the event with Sue Hale and Liza Walker.