The Mad River Path depends on community support to keep working toward a continuous series of recreational paths connecting the towns, businesses and homes of the Mad River Valley. After nearly 30 years of building pathways, the Mad River Path has perhaps seen the most traffic ever this spring. “During these last few months dealing with COVID-19, the path has been enjoyed even more by all of us,” said executive director Ross Saxton.
Ever wondered how the Mad River Path is built, maintained, funded, organized, planned and sustained? The answer is found within this community’s volunteers and donors.
There are a number of different ways to help the Mad River Path. The most effective way to support the path is by becoming one of the organization’s 400-plus-strong supporters. Contributions, no matter what size, are vital for the organization to continue growing its recreational trails and opportunities for families and individuals to have fun outside.
Another way to help is to volunteer muscles or mind. At least one big project is going on every summer, along with constant maintenance, and extra hands are always welcome. The ongoing Heart of the Valley Trail, which stretches from the Lareau Swimming Hole to Wait’s Way behind Waitsfield Elementary School, is just one of these projects that exists today thanks to both volunteers on the ground and financial donors. Countless hours donated by many Mad River Path supporters have made a respite the town center linking people to each other, businesses, homes and nature. Also, consider becoming a board member when a seat is available.
Landowners in The Valley have the opportunity to host a path or trail section, depending on the property location. Of most importance are those land parcels near the Mad River or Valley floor along with several other essential connection areas. On this front, the Mad River Path leads all the heavy lifting and handling the details. Take a look at the Mad River Path website for more information or reach out to a board member at any time. Many generous landowners over the years have made critical portions of the path possible, and there are more connections to be made.
Mad River Path’s largest fundraising event of the year, the Mad Dash 5km and 10km run or walk, relies on nearly 50 volunteers. Volunteering for the Mad Dash includes interacting with more than 500 event participants from the community and beyond. Running or walking in the Mad Dash is a big help to the Mad River Path, while business sponsors and silent auction donors have a huge positive impact on the organization’s ability to complete trail work.
Trail users have the opportunity to be an enormous asset to keeping the path open and enjoyable for all while ensuring new sections are built. Following the rules and practicing good trail etiquette are critical. Leashing and picking up after dogs is extremely important. Avoiding closed trails, carrying out trash, staying on trails that travel through private land and parking at designated trailhead lots are all ways to help the Mad River Path prosper across The Valley.
Visit www.madriverpath.org for more information about the Mad River Path.
Article written by Mad River Path board members Kyle Neyer, Alison Duckworth and Jessica Tompkins.