The most truly local of all Santa Barbara’s characteristics must be the physical land and its many opportunities. For generations, local retailers have actively helped promote access for wonderful excursions, offering a plethora of both supplies and trail knowledge. Looking for a trail map? The Travel store, founded in 1984 as Pacific Travelers Supply, carries not only detailed topo maps and all other terrain maps mentioned, but it also a great supply of hiking gear, insect repellant, trekking poles and, yes, water purification!
Yet the Independent’s well-intended effort to highlight our outdoors does not include us by any mention, and makes scant or no reference to most local outdoor stores. Instead, it seems to promote websites where hikers can shop online - that is, spend their money out of town!
This complete mis-match between our extremely local knowledge of our front- and back-country, and sending potential customers elsewhere, is not in the spirit of a hometown newspaper. Shame on the Independent for publishing a great look at our outdoors without paying tribute to the many local stores who do this 365 days a year.
What could have been a truly benevolent, “feel-good” article about Santa Barbara and its trails now is just another example how our town is losing its local character.
Jan Koch is president of Nations! Inc., doing business as The Travel Store of Santa Barbara.