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MRPA recaps 2010 and aims high for 2011

The Mad River Path Association (MRPA) reports that great strides were made in 2010. That's the word from director Autumn Foushee, who joined the path association last February.

Foushee noted that it was a productive year and that great progress was made towards attaining the mission of  building, maintaining, supporting and conserving a system of continuous public pathways from Warren to Moretown to foster a healthy community by connecting the people, schools, businesses and special places of the Mad River Valley.

Foushee's hiring was made possible by a grant from the Mad River Valley Recreation District. MRPA also received a grant from the Vermont Department of Forests and Parks Recreation Trails Grant Program (RTP). MRPA was awarded $18,671 to build a bridge over Clay Brook, which will connect the path from Riverside Park to the Sugarbush Snowmaking Pond path and the Kingsbury Farm path. It will be complete by fall 2011.

The MRPA was also able to open three new sections of path in 2010: The Austin Walk, the Kingsbury Farm path and the Bridge Street Connection in Waitsfield. These sections were made possible through membership funds, as well as a grant from the Alice R. Schwendler CLAT.

"Each of these new trails exist thanks to the many hands of dedicated volunteers and board members," Foushee said.

The MRPA held two fund-raising events and was the beneficiary of a third. In April 2010, MRPA began a new partnership with Sugarbush to host the 32nd Sugarbush Adventure Games. The games were a hit with over 200 participants. MRPA will be partnering with Sugarbush again in 2011. The Adventure Games will take place on April 2 and 3.

The 15th annual Mad Dash held on September 19 was also a great success. With nearly 200 participants, it was a race to remember. One racer mentioned to a MRPA board member that it was "the most fun I've ever had at a race!" The 16th annual Mad Dash will be held on September 18, 2011.

OTHER MRPA 2010 HIGHLIGHTS

* A fourth section is underway, which is funded by the Recreation Trails Program. The bridge over Clay Brook will be completed by fall 2011 and will connect the Riverside Park Path with the sections of path to the north. The MRPA Board with the assistance of a Vermont Youth Conservation Corp crew also built a staircase along this section of path, which will allow hikers to access the path on the Golden Lion Riverside Inn property. Michael and Melinda Carr, owners of the Golden Lion Riverside Inn, donated a trail access easement to the MRPA for the Clay Brook Bridge and the Mad River Path.

* Several work parties throughout the year helped to build and maintain path sections, as well address flooding damage and invasive species removal.

* Mike Eramo donated his time and labor to build a stone bridge over a stream along the Warren Path. 


* The MRPA website was revamped for 2010 to include more information about the Path and how the public can get involved.

SIPtemberfest, hosted by Meg's Events and Mad River Glen, was a good party in addition to being a benefit for the MRPA.

* A successful membership drive was held that resulted in the largest membership base ever. In 2010, over 400 members supported MRPA's efforts to build and sustain the Mad River Path.

* Partnership with the UVM Local Community Initiatives course - MRPA worked with UVM students to create historical and cultural interpretive materials for the Bridge Street Connection. The students compiled a report and created prototypes of interpretive materials for the MRPA, while also making suggestions for how MRPA could further engage the community on the path.

* Cooperating partnerships with community groups like the Mad River Valley Recreation District, Friends of the Mad River, the Mad River Valley Planning District, the Vermont Land Trust, the Innkeepers' Association, the Safe Routes to School Initiative, the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce, VFN, The Rotary Club, VAST and the Mad River Ridge Runners were initiated.

Looking ahead in 2011, there will be a lot happening with the Mad River Path. The Clay Brook Bridge will be complete and open by fall. MRPA also hopes to exceed its 2010 membership record by reaching more than 500 members in 2011. There will also be many events happening on the path this year.

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