2014 – A couple of lifelong buddies, Preston Smith – my son – and Braden Cleary, are getting ready for college. “You know that bearded guy logo we’ve been messing around with in class?” “Yeah, what about it?” “Why don’t we put it on a T-shirt?” “Draw it on a T-shirt? That’s stupid.” “No, print it!” “Tight.” “Dope.” And with that dazzling display of genius, insight and grammar, their company, TheMountCo and the idea that would become The Bearded Man were born. It ranks right up there with Chuck Norris discovering Canada. Or when he made the internet.
With three sons under the age of 33, I am fortunate to have a window into a generation that has been raised on multiple media platforms. A generation that has the ability to explore the world – literally at their fingertips – then instantly share that experience via social media. It’s not my mother and father’s world anymore and mine is rapidly fading. And therein lies the greatest challenge facing not just our National Parks, but the exploration of our planet as well. With all the clutter of today’s culture and social media diversions, how does the majesty of our greatest natural treasures remain relevant? It’s a tough nut to crack. How do we get a far greater percentage of the young tech absorbed generation to engage with nature?
I’ve been an innovative entrepreneur and supporter of our National Parks for over 30 years. It is my great privilege to travel our country and raise awareness of the issues facing our National Parks. If my writing and photographs can positively influence future generations, to help them connect with nature, I will in some small measure have succeeded.
– LC Smith