If you haven’t been to Mad River’s unique on-mountain Nature Center you will be very surprised what you’ll find in the unobtrusive shack at the base of the Slalom Hill trail. The Kent Thomas Nature Center houses interpretive displays focusing on the flora and fauna, geology, and other natural wonders that can be found on General Stark Mountain. The Nature Center is also home to a great collection of animal specimens including owls, fisher, red squirrel, and even a black bear.
The Kent Thomas Nature Center is open year-round so visitors can learn a bit about our mountain environment any time of year. It’s available to skiers and snowshoers in the winter and is a wonderful place to take a break from the cold, enjoy a snack or just break up the day a bit. In the summer it’s terrific destination for a hike or a place to take a quick break on the way up to the summit. See the Trail Map & Guide to General Stark Mountain to plan your adventure up the Kent Thomas Nature Center.
Kent Thomas’ Mad River Glen connection came about in the late 1950’s on his usual commute into New York City from his home in Connecticut. While on the train, Kent noticed a reference to Mad River Glen in something another commuter was reading. Kent struck up a conversation with Art Tauck, a Mad River homeowner. A life-long friendship with a Mad River Glen bond began. Kent, a diminutive man with a distinctive mustache, became a regular at the mountain as well as at the bar at the Mad River Barn. When Kent Thomas passed away in 2003 the Tauck family met and decided they wanted to honor their friend’s memory. When they learned about the plan to create a Nature Center in the old Slalom Hill lift shack they decided that it would be a perfect tribute. The entire Mad River Glen community thanks the Tauck Foundation, The Stark Mountain Foundation, and especially Kent Thomas’ family for making the Nature Center a reality. It is a fitting tribute for a man who cared so much for Mad River Glen.