Thank you, Barney Brantingham, for writing about the great Dick Smith. He truly was a renaissance man whom many would consider the “John Muir of the Central Coast.”
I recently backpacked through the wilderness named in his honor, and unlike the maintained and popular San Rafael Wilderness, many sections of the Dick Smith Wilderness are overgrown and have fallen into disrepair. The southern section of the Puerto Suelo Trail, between Dutch Oven and the pass, is a mess! Please plan accordingly if you choose to venture through that zone. The upside to an adventure in a place like this, is the beauty of remoteness and solitude in nature. Something that cannot be described in words.
Because the budgets for our National Forests have been drastically cut, the only means of keeping our trails maintained is through volunteer groups like the Los Padres Forest Association, led by mapmaker Bryan Conant. I urge those who care about our forests and wildernesses to donate to and volunteer with the LPFA (lpforest.org). We should also lobby our congressmember and U.S. senators to increase the budget for forest and wilderness maintenance. Doing so will continue the legacy of Dick Smith.