|Dick Smith Wilderness|
|Location||Santa Barbara / Ventura counties, California, United States|
|Nearest city||Ojai, California|
|Area||64,700 acres (262 km2)|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
The Dick Smith Wilderness is a wilderness area in the mountains of eastern Santa Barbara County, California, United States, with a portion in Ventura County. It is completely contained within the Los Padres National Forest, and is northeast of the city of Santa Barbara and north of the city of Ojai. It is most easily accessible from two trailheads off State Route 33, which runs north from Ojai. It is adjacent to the large San Rafael Wilderness on the west and the Matilija Wilderness on the south. Across Highway 33 to the east, and also in the Los Padres National Forest, is the large Sespe Wilderness.
The wilderness is named after Santa Barbaran Dick Smith, who was a reporter, photographer, historian and pioneer in environmental journalism for the Santa Barbara News-Press . Smith spent more time in these remote regions of Santa Barbara County than anyone, covering the area on horseback and accompanied by his dog. In recognition of Dick's personal pursuit to preserve the wild back country the area was named in his honor, and the U.S. Congress created the wilderness in 1984 as part of the California Wilderness Act.
The wilderness is in the Transverse Ranges, east of the junction of the San Rafael Mountains and Sierra Madre Mountains at Big Pine Mountain. Madulce Peak, at 6,541 feet, is the highest mountain completely within the wilderness, and the lowest point is 3,700 feet where Santa Barbara Creek exits to the north. The wilderness contains the divide between two watersheds: the Cuyama River to the north, and the Santa Ynez River to the south. The major streams carrying runoff to those two rivers are Santa Barbara Creek and Mono Creek, respectively.
The Big Pine Fault cuts through the wilderness from west to east, trending northeast after exiting the wilderness, in the direction of the nearby San Andreas Fault, which is only about 12 miles from the wilderness boundary. The Pine Mountain Fault splits off from the Big Pine; it is visible along the southern slope of nearby Reyes Peak. Most rocks in the wilderness are Eocene marine sediments, with some scattered outcrops of Pliocene, Miocene, and Oligocene sediments, especially immediately to the south of the Pine Mountain Fault (the contact between these rock units and the Eocene sediments defines the Big Pine Fault).
The climate of the wilderness is Mediterranean, but modified by distance from the ocean. Since much of the wilderness is separated from the ocean by a mountain divide, and is at fairly high altitude, freezes are common in the winter, as is occasional snow. Summers at lower elevations are hot and dry; rain is extremely rare between April and October, and dry lightning from the occasional thunderstorms can start fires.
Vegetation in the wilderness is predominantly chaparral, although there are regions of conifers, including big cone Douglas fir, especially on north-facing slopes, such as the northern exposure of Madulce Peak.Streams contain riparian vegetation, and there are some stands of oak trees. A relict population of great basin sagebrush ( Artemisia tridentata ) is visible along Highway 33 at the Bear Canyon trailhead; several populations of this species are left over from the last glacial epoch, when it was more widespread due to the cooler climate then.
Wildlife that may be encountered in the wilderness includes coyotes, black bears, and mountain lions. The California condor can occasionally be seen, since the endangered bird was released back into the wild in 1992, and the wilderness is positioned between the two major Southern California condor sanctuaries, the Sisquoc (in the San Rafael Wilderness to the northwest) and the Sespe (in the Sespe wilderness to the southeast).
The region has been continuously inhabited by humans for over 10,000 years. Rock art by the resident Chumash Indians is scattered across the region; locations of rock paintings are generally not made public for fear of vandalism.
Almost all of the wilderness was burned in 2007 by the Zaca Fire.
The Santa Ynez Mountains are a portion of the Transverse Ranges, part of the Pacific Coast Ranges of the west coast of North America. It is the westernmost range in the Transverse Ranges.
The San Rafael Mountains are a mountain range in central Santa Barbara County, California, U.S., separating the drainages of the Santa Ynez River and the Santa Maria River. They are part of the Transverse Ranges system of Southern California which in turn are part of the Pacific Coast Ranges system of western North America.
The Sierra Madre is a mountain range primarily in northern Santa Barbara County and extending into northwestern Ventura County in Southern California, western United States. It is a range of the Inner South Coast Ranges group, and is the southernmost reach of the California Coast Ranges, which are themselves part of the Pacific Coast Ranges of western North America.
The Santa Lucia Mountains or Santa Lucia Range is a rugged mountain range in coastal central California, running from Carmel southeast for 140 miles (230 km) to the Cuyama River in San Luis Obispo County. The range is never more than 11 miles (18 km) from the coast. The range forms the steepest coastal slope in the contiguous United States. Cone Peak at 5,158 feet (1,572 m) tall and three miles (5 km) from the coast, is the highest peak in proximity to the ocean in the lower 48 United States. The range was a barrier to exploring the coast of central California for early Spanish explorers.
Los Padres National Forest is a United States national forest in southern and central California. Administered by the United States Forest Service, Los Padres includes most of the mountainous land along the California coast from Ventura to Monterey, extending inland. Elevations range from sea level to 8,847 feet (2,697 m).
The Topatopa Mountains are a mountain range in Ventura County, California, north of Ojai, Santa Paula, and Fillmore. They are part of the Transverse Ranges of Southern California.
Sespe Creek is a stream, some 61 miles (98 km) long, in Ventura County, southern California, in the Western United States. The creek starts at Potrero Seco in the eastern Sierra Madre Mountains, and is formed by more than thirty tributary streams of the Sierra Madre and Topatopa Mountains, before it empties into the Santa Clara River in Fillmore.
The Sisquoc River is a westward flowing river in northeastern Santa Barbara County, California. It is a tributary of the Santa Maria River, which is formed when the Sisquoc River meets the Cuyama River at the Santa Barbara County and San Luis Obispo County border just north of Garey. The river is 57.4 miles (92.4 km) long and originates on the north slopes of Big Pine Mountain, at approximately 6,320 feet (1,930 m). Big Pine Mountain is part of the San Rafael Mountains, which are part of the Transverse Ranges.
The Chumash Wilderness is a 38,150 acres (15,440 ha) wilderness area within the southern Los Padres National Forest. It is located in the Transverse Ranges, in northern Ventura County and southwestern Kern County in California.
The Ventana Wilderness of Los Padres National Forest is a federally designated wilderness area located in the Santa Lucia Range along the Central Coast of California. This wilderness was established in 1969 when the Ventana Wilderness Act redesignated the 55,800-acre (22,600 ha) Ventana Primitive Area as the Ventana Wilderness and added land, totalling 98,000 acres (40,000 ha). In 1978, the Endangered American Wilderness Act added 61,000 acres (25,000 ha), increasing the total wilderness area to about 159,000 acres (64,000 ha). The California Wilderness Act of 1984 added about 2,750 acres (1,113 ha). The Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act of 1992 created the approximately 14,500-acre (5,900 ha) Silver Peak Wilderness and added about 38,800 acres (15,700 ha) to the Ventana Wilderness in addition to designating the Big Sur River as a Wild and Scenic River. The Big Sur Wilderness and Conservation Act of 2002 expanded the wilderness for the fifth time, adding nearly 35,000 acres (14,000 ha), increasing the total acreage of the wilderness to its present size of 240,026 acres (97,135 ha).
The San Rafael Wilderness is a wilderness area in the mountains of north central Santa Barbara County, California, United States. It is north of the city of Santa Barbara and east of Santa Maria within the Los Padres National Forest. Formed in 1968, it was the first wilderness area to be created from a previously designated Primitive Area after the passage of the 1964 Wilderness Act. It also includes the Sisquoc Condor Sanctuary, created in 1937, which is the oldest designated sanctuary for the large endangered birds.
Big Pine Mountain is a mountain located in the San Rafael Mountains of the California Transverse Ranges. High enough to receive snowfall during the winter, The summit, at 6800+ feet (2,074+ m), is the highest point in the San Rafael Mountains, the Dick Smith Wilderness, and Santa Barbara County. The peak and the surrounding area were severely impacked by the Zaca fire in 2007.
The Silver Peak Wilderness is located in the southwestern corner of Monterey County in the Santa Lucia Mountains along the Central Coast of California. It southern boundary largely follows the Monterey County/San Luis Obispo County line. Its eastern boundary is defined by Ft. Hunter Liggett, while on the west it follows closely along Highway 1 and the Big Sur coastline. It is one of ten wilderness areas within the Los Padres National Forest and managed by the US Forest Service.
The Garcia Wilderness is a 14,100-acre (57 km2) wilderness area within the Los Padres National Forest in San Luis Obispo County, California.
The Matilija Sandstone is a sedimentary geologic unit of Eocene epoch in the Paleogene Period, found in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties in Southern California.
The Santa Cruz Trail is a trail in the Los Padres National Forest, in Santa Barbara County, California. It is the primary footpath from the Santa Ynez Recreation Area into the San Rafael and Dick Smith Wilderness areas. The section from the southern trailhead up to Santa Cruz Camp is designated as the Santa Cruz - Aliso National Recreation Trail.
The Sespe Wilderness is a 219,700-acre (88,900 ha) wilderness area in the eastern Topatopa Mountains and southern Sierra Pelona Mountains, within the Los Padres National Forest (LPNF), in Ventura County, Southern California. The wilderness area is primarily located within the Ojai and Mt. Pinos ranger districts of the LPNF.
The Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act of 1992 is a Federal law that established five new designated Wilderness Areas and three new designated Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Los Padres National Forest and Angeles National Forest in California. The law was sponsored by California Republican and Ventura County native Robert J. Lagomarsino while he represented California's 19th District in the United States House of Representatives. The legislation was cosponsored by Democratic and Republican representatives from districts representing the entirety of the Los Padres National Forest.
The Matilija Wilderness is a 29,207-acre (11,820 ha) wilderness area in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, Southern California. It is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, being situated within the Ojai Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest. It is located adjacent to the Dick Smith Wilderness to the northwest and the Sespe Wilderness to the northeast, although it is much smaller than either one. The Matilija Wilderness was established in 1992 in part to protect California condor habitat.
Sespe Hot Springs are a system of thermal springs and seeps that form a hot spring creek in the mountains near the Sespe Condor Sanctuary near Ojai, California.