Path Association Dedicates 2018 Mad Dash to the Neill Family

09 13 2018

Path Association dedicates 2018 Mad Dash to Neill family
after 23 years of support

The relationship between trail users and landowners is crucial, particularly in the
Mad River Valley, where so many recreation trails cross private land.
Thus the Mad River Path Association is thrilled to dedicate the 2018 Mad Dash, a
5K/10K walk or run event which will take place on Sunday, Oct. 7th on Meadow
Road in Waitsfield, to Elwin and Angela Neill, owners of the Neill Farm on North
Road in Waitsfield. For 23 years, the Neills have generously provided use of their
land for Mad Dash parking, tents, and the race finish.“We enjoy seeing the public enjoy the Mad Dash,” Elwin Neill said. ”We hope it’s a great day for everyone.”

“We really appreciate this cooperation with the Neills,” according to Laura Brines,
the Path Association’s Board President. “They provide a perfect location for
walkers, runners, volunteers, observers, and kids fun-runners to experience the
Valley’s outdoors, with fall foliage, farm lands and forests all around, and barns anda covered bridge right there.”

The farm, where the family has produced milk, vegetables, meat, and other products, is well known to Valley shoppers who search for local foods. “In the 1800’s, there were sheep. Ag changed to dairy,” Neill said. “We still have
successful dairy in the Valley, but now a group of creative, young farm families are leading us through another transition, to more vegetables, herbs, and farm products including cheese.”Neill said he appreciates the agriculture awareness that Dash participants can gain during Mad Dash. “If I walk by a business I don’t know much about, I might learn something,” Neill commented. “Same for people who run and walk by our farm property.”

The Path Association urges respect for local landowners who provide public access or have easements allowing community use and enjoyment, which in turn enhances the Valley’s recreation image and economy. Path improvements on private land this summer have included sites such as the Sugarbush snowmaking pond, the Bridge district levee, new walking facilities in Irasville on Crosspoint lands, and boardwalks accessing the new Lawsons brewery and taproom scheduled to open soon. A boardwalk in front of the Skatium, helping smooth the walking and biking connection between the two sides of Irasville via the recently reconstructed wetlands boardwalk, is expected to be built this month.

“We encourage trail users not to take trail access for granted,” says Ned Farquhar, Path Executive Director. “If we all respect the landowners’ basic requirements for managing and picking up after dogs, for staying on trails, or for parking, maybe we can hope for more landowners to provide or expand public access.” Neill points to the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers, which has maintained
good landowner relations for snowmobile trails for years: “The group builds
bridges, allows people to get outdoors on their lands, and works with the
landowners. It’s a good, successful example.”

“Working with Elwin and Angela on this event is an invaluable gift to the Dash and to our community,” according to Dash organizer Liz First Raddock. “We are so grateful to them, and it’s exciting to dedicate the Dash to them in recognition of their community spirit, and the future of agriculture in the Valley.”

The Mad Dash, with Sugarbush as lead sponsor, takes place Sunday, Oct. 7, Meadow Road, Waitsfield, behind Small Dog Electronics. 10 a.m. start time. To register, go to Volunteers are needed; please email at