A new public trail will soon open in Waitsfield, expanding opportunities for community recreation, health, and enjoyment of The Valley’s outdoors. On Tuesday, September 27, the Mad River Path will celebrate the opening of the Spaulding Greenway, a new, 1-mile section of path which follows the edge of a farm field along the Mad River.
“This new path section is an amazing addition to our growing trail network in The Valley,” said Ross Saxton, executive director of the Mad River Path. “The best part of this new trail, besides its great accessibility for people of all abilities, is that it brings people through active farmland, along our beloved Mad River, and to sweeping mountain views. It doesn’t get any better than that for a Vermont path.”
This public trail is part of a broader land conservation effort in the works with the Vermont Land Trust (VLT), which purchased the 70 acres of cropland along Tremblay Road from the Spaulding family in 2021. VLT is currently leasing the land to the DeFreest family who has farmed the property since the Spauldings stopped milking cows in their barn on Route 100.
VLT is in the process of seeking funding from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to support the conservation and sale of the farmland to the DeFreests. The proposed conservation project would include special protections for the river corridor, enabling the future movement of the river to reduce the impacts of future floods and expanding riparian buffers along the Mad River and several tributaries to support water quality. The creation of a public trail on the land is a vital component of this effort, and will complement the VAST trail that already crosses the property.
“We are pleased to partner with the Mad River Path Association and to have the support of the Spauldings and DeFreests to help create an accessible walking trail in the center of The Valley,” added Liza Walker, project director for VLT. “We look forward to furthering this conservation project in the next year, to bring together important community priorities, like the protection of working farms, recreation opportunities and environmental health.”
A grand opening of this new path, named the Spaulding Greenway to honor the legacy of the Spaulding family, will be held on Tuesday, September 27, starting at 5 p.m. All are welcome to this ribbon-cutting event. Cider and doughnuts will be offered to accompany attendees during their inaugural walk along the path.