A solid plan

  • Published in Editorials

The Unified Trailhead Kiosk and Mapping Project is a well-thought-out effort to create identifiable and easily recognizable signage and maps for The Valley’s extensive network of trails and paths.

The project builds on the work of multiple previous efforts to determine what can be done to help “brand” The Valley’s many recreational offerings and, in so doing, attract more people to bike and hike here. The lack of a consistent message and branding has been repeatedly cited as a deterrent to more people coming here to recreate. And recreation – as has been shown – is a significant economic driver in The Valley and Vermont.

The project is a collaborative effort of multiple community organizations including nonprofits such as the Mad River Path Association and the Mad River Riders, plus local conservation commissions, the Vermont Land Trust and the U.S. Forest Service, the Mad River Valley Planning District as well as the Mad River Valley Recreation District.

The towns of Warren, Waitsfield and Fayston were asked to up their regular contributions to the rec district by an additional $8,500 apiece to cover the first phase of the mapping and kiosk project. All three towns have agreed to do so.

Project organizers have identified major and minor trailheads where informational kiosks will be constructed. Each of those kiosks will feature a map as well as information about the group that stewards that particular trail, information about that particular trail and room for updated information about upcoming events and activities.

As planned, each stewarding group will maintain its own kiosks and handle policing the areas and its trails. As planned, the project calls for 23 major and 12 minor kiosks the first year, at a cost of $8,500 per town. The following year, the project calls for one major and 17 minor kiosks, at no additional costs to member towns.

This is a solid, well-thought-out and well-planned project that represents an impressive amount of cross-organization cooperation and collaboration. It reflects well on The Valley and on those who have shepherded the project thus far.

This is what our tax dollars should be spent on – in addition to paving and plowing, etc.