Dear Green Mountain Club Friends,
As an educator, mentor, leader, or outdoorswoman, Jean Haigh inspired others and brought people together. It is with deep sorrow that I share the news that Jean died suddenly on Saturday, November 2nd, while doing what she loved most, hiking with friends in the Northeast Kingdom.
The Green Mountain Club and Vermont hiking community have lost a truly special person.
Jean was president of the Green Mountain Club from 2012 to 2015 and an active board member for over a decade. She helped create the club’s Northeast Kingdom Section and was the section’s president for five years. Jean also served on and chaired several GMC committees. Her energy seemed limitless. Her dedication to GMC was unwavering.
Jean’s passion centered around trails in the Northeast Kingdom; in 2001 she encouraged the club to take on management responsibility for hiking trails in that area. Recently, the Kingdom Heritage Trail System opened—a 20-year project driven from the beginning by Jean’s leadership and determination. She was thrilled to see it through to its completion and a stretch of one of the new trails was appropriately named in her honor as “Haigh’s Highway.”
Jean built and maintained an unparalleled network of friends within Vermont’s recreation community and was a mentor to a generation of trail stewards. Last month Jean was sincerely touched to receive the Theresa S. Brungardt Friend Award presented by the Vermont Recreation and Parks Association and the Outstanding Partnership Award presented by the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
As a member of the Green Mountain Club, Jean’s light burned brightly for more than two decades while she built an enduring legacy as an inspirational leader—both on and off the trail—and as a tenacious trail advocate.
We will miss her spirited ways and extend heartfelt condolences to her family and all who loved her.
Please look for more about the life of this exceptional recreation trailblazer in the spring Long Trail News. We encourage you to share your stories of Jean in the comments below.
Mike DeBonis, GMC Executive Director