This past January, members of the WVAIA board of directors met with the Town of Waterville Valley Selectmen to come up with a plan to restore the Mad River Trail, which was significantly damaged by Hurricane Irene. The project is threefold: first, restore the eroded sections of the trail; second, relocate an 800 ft. section of the trail that was obliterated; and third, replace the crossing of the West Branch of the Mad River at the northern end of the trail. As a result of that meeting, the Town has offered a warrant article to be voted on at Town Meeting for $30,000 to restore and relocate the trail, and to build a series of stepping stones over the West Branch of the Mad River.
Since then, members of the WVAIA board have learned that some residents would prefer replacing the bridge with a new bridge rather than stepping stones. With Town Meeting next Tuesday, March 13, the WVAIA board would like to know how you feel.
The stepping stones can be viewed as less expensive but are less user friendly (i.e. intimidating for some folks to use). The bridge can be seen as more expensive, but more user friendly. Which do you prefer?
Out of the $30,000, the stepping stones portion of the plan is $12,000. Pending United States Forest Service approval, the stepping stones would be installed sometime this coming summer. If the membership (and townspeople) prefer to have a new bridge constructed instead, it would cost an additional $40,000, and WVAIA would go back to the Town for this amount next year.
In the interim, WVAIA would be willing to pursue a fundraising effort to reduce the amount requested from Town. The bridge option would most likely delay restoring a crossing of the West Branch until next year. Realistically speaking, if the stepping stones are used it would still likely be late summer before they would go in.
In either case, WVAIA feels it is important to complete the restoration and relocation portion of the plan this year.
Please let WVAIA know your thoughts ASAP: Bridge or stepping stones? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is important that WVAIA hear from you before next week’s Town Meeting.