While a handshake might start the conversation with a neighbor, we all know it takes a tremendous amount of work to build lasting and trusting relationships between the people in a community. And for the last three decades, Friends has kept this focus on community building front and center. Whether it’s with our Mad River Watch volunteers or Storm Smart land stewards, we have worked to connect as many people as we can with the opportunity help build a more resilient watershed community.
This is why, when opportunity arose to work alongside the Mad River Valley Planning District, the Mad River Path, The Mad River Recreation District, The Mad River Chamber of Commerce, and the Mad River Riders on the Mad River Valley Vermont Outdoor Economic Collaborative grant, we jumped at the chance. This grant is funding several exciting projects, from the establishment of a new welcome center to the building of a new bridge and trail connector across the Mill Brook. One of these projects is the establishment of a Community Recreation Visioning initiative tasked with helping us create a ‘gold standard’ for recreation in our community that balances our love of playing in the outdoors with our responsibility for acting as its stewards. Friends staff serve on the initiative’s steering committee alongside representatives from conservation and recreation groups in the Valley.
With the support of an experienced facilitator, the Community Recreation Visioning initiative members will continue to meet throughout 2023 and 2024. Our hope is to chart a path forward for a vibrant community full of diverse recreation activities that takes seriously our collective role as stewards of this valley.
of the Mad River