2024 Mad River Valley Triathlon helpers watch kayakers and canoers pass the Waitsfield Covered Bridge. Photo: John Williams

Volunteers have the power to make a difference in the community. When it comes to recreation, volunteers are indispensable. Volunteering is a rewarding way to give back to the community and become involved with supporting recreation here in The Valley. Essential to the quality of life, recreation contributes to well-being and builds strong communities. Volunteering to support recreation organizations in the Mad River Valley helps change people’s lives. Some 87 volunteers participated in supporting the Mad River Triathlon held on April 14. They baked energy bars, directed traffic, encouraged participants along the course, stuffed packets, tallied raffle prizes, and put in countless hours behind the scenes.  





Read on for other examples of how volunteers are helping to make recreation happen here in The Valley. 


The Mad River Path Association maintains 15 miles of walking and hiking paths. Eleven volunteer stewards care for these paths. Each steward has a section of the path they walk weekly, taking notes of storm damage, seasonal maintenance needs, and necessary improvements. Beyond making observations, path volunteers pick up trash, cut fallen trees, and push back knotweed, taking full responsibility for their section of the path. Misha Golfman, executive director of the Mad River Path noted, “It is very gratifying to coordinate the efforts of so many skilled and dedicated volunteers.” Those are interested in volunteering with the path can visit: https://madriverpath.org/volunteer


Dedicated to building and maintaining a sustainable trail network across the Mad River Valley for biking, trail running, hiking, fat biking, snowshoeing, and other human-powered activities, the Mad River Riders organization is entirely run by volunteers. Fourteen board members, six additional committee members, and roughly 40 trail stewards are all unpaid volunteers. The Riders need volunteers to help maintaining trails, running events, coaching kids, posting on social media, designing posters, and more. Email the Riders at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to help.


The recreation fields at Mad River Park are a hub of community activity. With an open-air pavilion and surrounded by a walking path, the 10-acre site provides community fields for soccer, lacrosse, and other field sports. Volunteers are always needed to help with field maintenance and with youth sports. For example, on April 20 more than 20 players, parents, and coaches spent a rainy and cool day to spruce up the fields and parking area. Chair of the Mad River Park Recreation Fields committee, Mary Simmons, joined in the efforts and declared the day a success. “It's amazing what can be accomplished with many hands (and rakes). Volunteerism comes in many forms and we are very grateful to Kingsbury Construction for hauling away our brush pile. It's great to see so many folks turn out to help take care of our important resource,” Simmons said.

Those interested in volunteering to help with either maintenance or youth sports at the Mad River Recreation Fields can contact Mary Simmons at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..





Those who care about the environment, might consider volunteering with stewardMRV or Friends of the Mad River. Proper stewardship is essential in maintaining the resiliency of recreation and the health of the environment in the Mad River Valley. To become a site steward go to: https://www.madrivervalley.com/stewardmrv/becoming-a-site-steward/.

Additionally, Friends of the Mad River has had a River Watch program for decades and includes more than 20 sites along the Mad River. Volunteers collect water samples, plant trees, participate in the Ridge to River taskforce, or “adopt” Green Stormwater infrastructure sites and help with maintenance. To learn more go to: https://friendsofthemadriver.org/volunteer.html.


The upcoming Mad Marathon on July 7 is another opportunity to volunteer. How we care for the Mad River Valley is critical for a vibrant future. Whether it is at a trailhead, down by the river, on a backroad, or in the backyard, there are ways to be an environmental steward in this community.  Over 300 volunteers are needed not only for race day, July 7, but also for a weekend full of events. Volunteers are needed to help hand out bibs, shirts, and race bags at the Friday and Saturday EXPO at Lawson's Finest. For those who like working with kids, there is the Toddler Fun run and the Mad Mile at the Inn at the Round Barn on Saturday, July 6. On race day, volunteers are needed to host aid stations, serve as marshals at key locations, and at the end of the 26.2-mile race hand out medals and serve food and drink. To join the volunteer team email race director, Dori Ingalls at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or volunteer director, Victoria Crowne at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For links to nonprofit recreation organizations in The Valley visit the Mad River Valley Recreation District’s website, https://mrvrd.org. By volunteering people can contribute to making recreation happen in The Valley.