For Marge Fish, giving back to the Trail started in 1975 after she spent two years doing trail work with the Killington Section of the Green Mountain Club. Today, Fish has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in sections over the course of 16 years and has similarly section hiked the Long Trail two times.
“I get so much from the Trail, it’s important that I give something back to it,” explains Fish.
Fish went on to then adopt the Peru Peak Shelter in the late 1970s before switching to the Big Branch Pond Shelter where the easier hike made it possible for her two kids to join in on the fun. In 2001 and 2002 she was the fall caretaker at Griffith Lake where she enjoyed patrolling her section of trail as she watched is change through the seasons. Fish also took this time as an opportunity to educate hikers while she learned about their stories. She eventually went on to adopt the Bromley Brook tent sites and found herself becoming involved with the Trail Management Committee as she helped to scout out the Bromley Shelter which she now adopts along with a second shelter.
Since 2002 Fish has been involved with the board of the Green Mountain Club in numerous ways and has been a part of many committees. From being a general board member to being the Manchester Section President, Fish enjoys being involved in the decision making processes involved with solving trail challenges and shelter issues.
Executive Director of the Green Mountain Club, Michael DeBonis explains that “Marge plays an integral role in elevating the needs of the A.T and the Long Trail in Southern Vermont as a priority for the Club. As a trail adopter, she also does a lot of work on Bromley Mountain that goes unseen and she loves it so much so that she oftentimes gets her family involved.”
Having taught at an elementary school for ten years before earning her nursing degree, Fish mostly enjoys working with kids. Initially, she spent several years working with girl scout troops on the Trail and in 2000 she worked with a high school Eagle Scout project to build 200 feet of bog bridges on Bromley Mountain. Fish now has a long-standing partnership with several classes between 5th graders to sophomores in high school who perform service-learning projects on the trail. Fish explains that she loves “watching the kids learn how much work is involved in creating trails and taking ownership of the trails. Many of them are trying out hiking as a personal activity and then wanting to take it to their parents.”
Before Marge Fish heads out for a camping trip with her grandson she sums up her dedication to the Trail by saying “I refill my personal well by hiking these trails, especially for being out multiple nights at a time – and volunteering allows me to give back to something that I love and value.”