Wind: 7 mph
To The Editor:
Re: Riverbed bank stabilization project in Waitsfield.
I, also, am not happy about the riverbank stabilization project now under construction in Waitsfield. The "natural" riverbank is being modified by a manmade structure, detracting somewhat from what, before construction, appeared to be a natural feature. But I am a realist. The Mad River has been assaulted by the state, the town and numerous private parties (the people of the Mad River Valley) over the past 200 years or so, long before the impacts of those encroachments were understood or known.
The Bridge Street covered bridge with its severely constricting abutments, the construction and removal of dams, the construction of numerous bridges and culverts on the river and its tributaries, and the construction of many buildings in its floodplain stripped the Mad River of its wild and natural character a long time ago. (Maybe that's why it's Mad.) But we can't put the genie back in the bottle, and we have to live with the results of what has previously been done.
The current project attempts to address the unintended consequences of actions taken in the past. Most of the Mad River will still appear to be "natural" and esthetically pleasing. And the project may result in an attractive, if not natural, condition. It is unrealistic to declare the river "wild" and "natural" as it traverses the town center but, hopefully, the construction will allow the river and its human abutters and numerous visitors to co-exist for a while.
Norman A. Abend
Historic Waitsfield House (an abutter)