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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673
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An enjoyable walk in the woods

08/09/2007

By Logan Cooke

I always enjoy a place to take a walk or even ride my mountain bike. There are many places known around here that can offer this. But, what about right at the high school I spent so many days at? As some may or may not know, there is a "cross country" trail system used for XC skiing and XC running at Harwood. It also offers as a place for running training for track, soccer and many other sports as well as the PE program. 

It also serves a little more. In the winter, it is used for sledding, snowshoeing and part of it is a VAST snowmobile trail. Now you might be saying to yourself it must very difficult to maintain a system as vast (no pun intended) as that. Well, you are right. It requires the help of many athletes, parents and other volunteers. But there are also many hours put into it by that oh-so-famous track coach John Kerrigan.  

While strolling through these paths in his biology class (that's right he is also a teacher!), I began to chat with Mr. Kerrigan whom I have become quite chummy with (despite the fact that I was publicly opposed to the fact that he was not punished enough for his actions that lost him his position as track coach). While chatting about these trails with him, I was quite surprised to find out that he received very little if any funding from the school for these trails systems that are so important for not only athletics but the school in general. I saw on the trails, remnants of lights which had to be turned off because the school did not want to power them, and also that Kerrigan had to use his own personal snowmobile to groom these trails, which was a tedious and tiring job.

So, I ask you something: Why is the school not offering support for Kerrigan to maintain and or improve these trail systems? Now, I know that the budget is a little tight at Harwood, but come on, this is a little ridiculous. This trail system is used by almost 400 athletes and serves as recreation to many others. This should be an obvious investment that would serve the school better -- even just enough for lights or a fund for maintenance.

If this trail system were to ever be unusable you could say good-bye to all the XC sports. It's like not maintaining the gymnasium. Also, with a little work, it could become a community trail like the Mad Path. Some maps (believe me, you can get lost). So, I now call upon the school system and the community to do something about this. This trail system is in need of some money. Let's get going on something to get this trail system in tip-top shape. And also call upon people in The Valley to go up to Harwood and walk these trails. There are many animals and plants that will make this an enjoyable "walk in the woods."
      
      
Logan Cooke lives in Waitsfield.
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