Annie “Zeta” Dumais
Since serious conversations began this summer about what it would take to form an independent crew of TFC-folk
in the White Mountains, the path forward has been a circuitous one, and it hardly came as a surprise that a handful
of unkempt trail workers had a lot to learn about business– navigating the start of a private trail crew has thus far
posed a unique and satisfying challenge. As we lay the groundwork for TFC, LLC, we are finding our way as we go.
There are still many unanswered questions, and plans may change as time goes by, but the shape of this crew is
beginning to emerge from the fog of possibilities. As it stands now, the Trail Fixing Collective is filed as a
multi-member LLC, and in constructing our Operating Agreement, we are borrowing heavily from the governance
and management structures of worker cooperatives, wherein all members have equal stake in the business and
control over decision making. As of now we are composed of seven members, all of whom have spent time on TFC
in recent years. Essentially, our aim is to create a White Mountain trail crew managed by trail workers, dedicated to
practicing and passing down the skills we were taught, and committed to being good neighbors and good stewards
in these mountains that we love. Our first season will begin in May 2022.
In terms of our work this coming summer, we already have a large portion of our schedule filled. We are in the
process of finalizing a contract for one crew of four to five people for 12 weeks at Rumney Rocks climbing area,
through the White Mountain Trails Collective. That project will entail mostly prefab timber retaining walls with
some rock work. There is still room in our season that we are looking to fill, and we are actively reaching out to
potential partners and organizations, and would of course be interested in any leads that you might have on a
potential project. We are hoping to engage with smaller local trail organizations, and maybe even land some
patrolling and put our axes to use!
We’ve been given advice and support in many ways since this endeavor began, from friends and family, the TCA and
other miscellaneous TFC alumni, friends and contacts from within the trails world, and the state of New
Hampshire’s Small Business Development Center. We estimate our startup budget at around $20,000, and our main
priorities are securing the funding for tools, insurance, and housing. Our fundraising initiatives will begin in earnest
in the next few weeks, but we have already received some support from alumni and other friends of the crew. At the
same time we will be ramping up our housing search, scouring the White Mountain area from Berlin down to
Ossipee in search of a place that might suit the crew from June through August. We are also actively searching for a
source to order tools, and are planning to order from Lester Kenway at Trail Services, LLC or to locate a
second-hand seller. Any leads in regards to affordable housing or tools would be greatly appreciated. If you might
be willing or motivated to support the crew with tools, housing, vehicles, or money, or if you have a question or
want to share your thoughts about our project, please reach out to us at [email protected]. You can
also check out our website at trailfixingcollective.com It is our hope that this new crew will pick up and carry on the
continuous chain of generational knowledge and skills that we all learned on TFC. It is also our hope to do so with
the wisdom and friendship of the TCA and the wider TFC diaspora. We sincerely hope to hear from you soon!
Love and FOO!
-Annie “Zeta” Dumais