Volunteer Profile: Larry Krumm

By Kathleen Lynch

For more than two decades, Larry Krumm has helped maintain more than 200 miles of the PCT in the Tahoe, Plumas, and Lassen national forests. In 1993, Priscilla Johnson led the first trail crew Larry joined. Three years later he was leading his own crew, which he’s done every summer since.

Larry grew up in Red Hook, New York. He joined the Boy Scouts at age 11 and began backpacking in the Catskills and canoeing the lakes and rivers of the Adirondacks.

“I liked getting out away from people,” he said. “I was a cowboys and indians guy. You always felt like you were out there all by yourself, before there were very many people.”

After college Larry moved to San Jose, California, to work as a speech therapist. On backpacking trips, he would “bump into the PCT.” He began leading backcountry ski and backpacking trips for the Sierra Club in the mid-1980s.

“I did a lot with the Sierra Club, going on trips and leading trips,” he recalled. “I would pass trail crews as I was walking on the trail.”

Larry Krumm of the PCTA.

Larry Krumm of the PCTA.

Seeing those crews maintaining his stomping ground clicked for Larry. “My goodness I’ve been using the trails all these years, I should certainly be doing something to maintain them.”

Larry read an article in Backpacker magazine about trail crews. At the end of the article there was a phone number listed for readers interested in doing trail work. Backpacker connected Larry with the Pacific Crest Trail Association.

His first trip out was eye opening. “They handed us tools that I had never seen before, and showed us how to cut the brush back and make water bars,” he said. “The crew went out almost every day with rangers or national forest crews. We got a lot of instruction from the rangers. It was very hands on learning.”

And it was fun.

“The camaraderie was great. We learned so much,” he said. “We felt like we were giving back, doing something for the trails we were going to be hiking on.”

After three summers learning under Priscilla, Larry took out his own crew. For the past 20 years he has led the PCTA’s Will Work for Krumms crew in northern California.

On trips out, when he isn’t cooking, “I’m a Pulaski man.” His crew has worked through miles of poison oak, burned forests, lightning storms and fire seasons when the smoke was so thick, “they couldn’t see each other.” They’ve also worked with horsemen, llamas and even OHV drivers. “The PCT seems to bring in what in other circumstances would be considered strange bedfellows.”

Twenty summers on the trail has never given Larry the itch to thru-hike. “We just like being out there in nature and away from things,” he said. “Setting a goal is too confining. If we see a nice lake or waterfall or view I would just as soon stop rather than getting on because I have to be somewhere. It’s a different mindset completely to be a thru-hiker and to have that kind of destination in mind.”

This month, you might have run into Larry and the Will Work For Krumms crew along the border of the Plumas and Tahoe national forests cutting brush and rehabilitating tread.

Twenty years and 200 miles later, it is the satisfaction of hard work that motivates him.
“It sounds like a cliché, but after it’s done I feel good about the camaraderie and the work we get done. “

Want to volunteer with a PCTA trail crew? Go to our volunteering page to get started. It’s a great way to have fun, meet new friends and give back to the trail you love. Your trail needs you.