What’s in a Name?
With a name like “MadDog,” its not an unusual question.
With the possible exception of one board member, the “MadDog” moniker isn’t a reflection of anyone’s personality or the chapter’s collective political persona.
It’s simply a geographic descriptor of the loose, self-claimed boundaries of the waters that our chapter calls “home.” The Mad River to the north, and the beautiful wild-trout Dog River to the south. Both are tributaries of the grand and multi-personalitied Winooski which, from its headwaters in Cabot to somewhere around Bolton Dam, is no less “home waters” to most MadDog members.
The name was a pretty logical contraction of the chapter’s first president, Vince Rossano, after considerations like the “Gateway Chapter” generated an appropriate amount of unenthusiasm. As far as any of us can recollect (which, as it turns out, isn’t much), the year was 1986 give or take. Vince was the instigator, with encouragement from Dr. Bill Allard and a little later Budd Shedaker (your humble author). Other folks that were instrumental in the chapter’s birthing included Mike Karnedy, the late Phil Stacy, Steve Sanderson, Chris Wagner, Brian Kooicker, Bill Albert, Cliff Cloud and Mike Gallant – with much help from many other friends.
We planted trees, sponsored fly tying classes, advocated for the same things we do today finally, under the presidency of Steve Sanderson, becoming deeply and exhaustingly embroiled in the Sugarbush snow-making debacle that finally succeeded, after more than a year of litigation and some $2.3 million in legal expenses, in establishing a February mean-flow requirement for water extraction from the Mad River’s Chase Brook tributary. The irony of it all, is that the February mean flow was what the Agency of Natural Resources had originally recommended and what the chapter had embraced. Sugarbush, however, wanted carte-blanche, offered the chapter $10,000 to use as we saw fit, but would not agree to any limitations on what it considered its needs for making snow. Then-Governor Howard Dean sided solidly with Sugarbush, which understandably emboldened them – but ultimately got them nothing but a hefty bill from their legions of lawyers.
Several subsequent attempts were made to reinvigorate the chapter, the most successful of which, thanks to the efforts of Tom Murray, David Kenney, John Mudgett, Lawton Weber and Clark Amadon, have led us to where we are today.