stewardMRV Aims to Care for Recreational Access Points

Memorial Day weekend marks the kick-off of stewardMRV, a new initiative spearheaded by the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce, that seeks to instill a greater sense of stewardship for outdoor recreational assets in the Mad River Valley community. A strong ethic of community stewardship is vital to maintaining the scenic beauty, sustainability of recreation, and health of the environment for the enjoyment of all. How we treat and care for our outdoor spaces is the heart of why so many choose to visit and live here. 

StewardMRV is engaging with and building upon the foundation of the MRV Trails Collaborative, an incredibly successful partnership between a multitude of recreation and conservation organizations. Their work includes recent trail inventory and mapping, and the Unified Trailhead Kiosk initiative.

Many of the Mad River Valley trailheads and swim holes have seen an upswing in usage in recent years, with the COVID pandemic further accelerating this trend. The stewardMRV program seeks to address a series of challenges that these recreational access points have faced as a result of this increase in usage, such as inadequate restroom facilities, increased litter, dog waste and misbehavior, and inconsistent public awareness.

Work is already underway, with two flagship sites- Lareau Swim Hole and the Bridge Street Marketplace parking area- being prepared for additional portalets and trash and recycling bins within an enclosed shelter. An increased number of dog waste bag dispensers have also been dispersed throughout the community as a part of the Poop Stops Here campaign. These initiatives, and others to come, would not be possible without the generous sponsorship of Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Bourne’s Energy, and the MRV Chamber of Commerce.

It is imperative that we set this precedent of stewardship and continue to foster commitment to it- both for the people of today, and for generations to come. The stewardMRV program is currently looking for site stewards who are passionate about upholding this ethic. If you would like to volunteer to participate in cleanups occurring throughout the summer, or for more information, please contact steward@madrivervalley.com.