Honoring Jerry Schad – Is the Coast to Crest Trail the right trail?

The Coast to Crest Trail goes through the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve

The Coast to Crest Trail goes through the Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve

As you likely know, legendary hiker and professor Jerry Schad passed away recently. Many people have expressed how he had touched their lives.

Once I was an adult, I started my hiking history in Orange County, using his book as my sole reference to the surrounding trails. My girlfriend at the time, (she’s my wife, now), spent many of our first dates with Afoot and Afield in Orange County as our guide. When we moved to San Diego we bought the current edition of Afoot and Afield in San Diego. I bought a new version when that came out and then gave away my older version to a hiker new to the area.

Jerry Schad spent tireless hours exploring the area and took the time to share his knowledge with us. It’s hard to calculate the inspiration he’s given us to get outside. I feel he needs to be honored.

There is currently a petition to get the Coast to Crest Trail renamed the Jerry Schad Trail. This petition, as the time of this post, has over 1,000 signatures. Per the San Dieguito River Park website, the Coast to Crest Trail is:

A multi-use trail system for hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders that will extend from the ocean at Del Mar to the San Dieguito River’s source on Volcan Mountain, just north of Julian. This is a distance of approximately 55 miles.

I truly believe that Jerry Schad should be honored. However, I do have some concerns about renaming the above trail.

  • There is already a trail in Balboa Park named after him. Trail 43 in Balboa Park, where Schad met his wife, has been renamed the Jerry Schad Memorial Hiking Trail in his honor.
  • The San Dieguito River Park/San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy has spent a lot of time and money creating and marketing the existing portion of the Coast to Crest Trail. The Coast to Crest Trail itself is a sort of brand and may be linked to the future success of the trail. What would it cost to change all of the brochures that they may have printed. What potential impact would renaming have on any momentum they have in completing this trail?
  • While hiking in Santa Ysabel Open Space Preserve, I recall seeing a sign that referenced the Coast to Crest Trail. I imagine there are other similar signs along the proposed route. What future costs would be necessary to change all the signs?

I may be way off. I’ve contacted the San Dieguito River Park and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy to get their opinion on this matter, as I think they should at least be consulted, since they are responsible for creating, maintaining and marketing this trail. Perhaps renaming it the Jerry Schad Trail is the best thing for this particular hike, but perhaps it is too costly a change at this point. I haven’t heard back from them at the time of this post.

The point is, I’d want to know more about the cost and administration of the Coast to Crest Trail, his involvement in it, and how he felt about it, rather than pick a particular trail at random and name it in Jerry’s honor. My question would also be, “What was Jerry’s favorite unnamed peak in San Diego County?” Perhaps we can rally to get a peak that was special to him named after him.

In an era where parks are closing across the state, we should make the right choices to make sure our open spaces are preserved. That’s what Jerry Schad would have wanted, I assume.

I would appreciate your input on the matter, especially those who knew and hiked with him.

Update 10/05/2011:

I communicated with both Robert Parkinson (the creator of the petition) and someone close to Jerry and have gleaned this information:

From Robert:

– Robert Parkinson is a very thoughtful individual and has put a lot and time and effort into researching and considering this endeavor.
– Jerry Schad’s wife supports the renaming, or at least appreciates the attempt.
– A representative from the San Dieguito River Park has indicated that renaming a section of the trail with the appropriate plaque would likely get support, as opposed to renaming the entire trail.
– Mr. Parkinson admits that renaming the trail The Jerry Schad Coast to Crest Trail may be the best compromise, since it requires less rework of signs, etc., while still honoring Jerry. He wishes he would have thought of that sooner.

From Jerry’s friend and avid hiker:

– Feels that since Jerry didn’t work on the Coast to Crest Trail (to his knowledge), it wouldn’t be best to name it after him.
– However, it is a fine and long trail and is worthy of Jerry’s name.
– When asked about naming a mountain after him, Jerry was modest and indicated that Trail #43 in Balboa Park was enough. His friend disagrees. He said something that I truly appreciate. He said that Jerry Schad is the John Muir of San Diego and needs to be acknowledged at such.

I will see what I can do.

Hiking Santa Barbara, San Diego, and beyond, one peak at a time. I encourage people to get outside, promote stewardship of the outdoors, and engage people in the spirit of the wilderness. Feel free to reach out to me with questions.

Comments

  1. Agreed, especially since there is already a trail named after him, renaming the Coast to Coast is probably not the way to go unless there was a particular involvement/affinity Jerry had to that trail.

    Have you contacted Robert Parkinson about why he chose this trail?

    Totally agree with your suggestion about naming a peak after him. Seems fitting.

  2. Agreed, especially since there is already a trail named after him, renaming the Coast to Coast is probably not the way to go unless there was a particular involvement/affinity Jerry had to that trail.

    Have you contacted Robert Parkinson about why he chose this trail?

    Totally agree with your suggestion about naming a peak after him. Seems fitting.

  3. Great question. I’ve contacted Robert Parkinson and asked him. I will update the post if and when I get a response.

  4. Great question. I’ve contacted Robert Parkinson and asked him. I will update the post if and when I get a response.

  5. I admit to signing that petition at around 7:00 this morning before heading up to Cuyamaca. It actually looks like an idea someone came up with and made a petition, who knows how much weight it will carry, if any. But, you’re right, I imagine a lot more goes into to that sort of thing than a petition being passed around. I do think, given his influence on hiking and enjoyment of the outdoors generally, over the last 3 decades, the Coast to Crest Trail is an honor on scale with Mr. Schad’s contribution. I also agree with you, that those who built it, maintain it, named it, and pay for it ought to be consulted. I imagine more than a couple Jerry Schad trails will exist in the county eventually.

  6. I admit to signing that petition at around 7:00 this morning before heading up to Cuyamaca. It actually looks like an idea someone came up with and made a petition, who knows how much weight it will carry, if any. But, you’re right, I imagine a lot more goes into to that sort of thing than a petition being passed around. I do think, given his influence on hiking and enjoyment of the outdoors generally, over the last 3 decades, the Coast to Crest Trail is an honor on scale with Mr. Schad’s contribution. I also agree with you, that those who built it, maintain it, named it, and pay for it ought to be consulted. I imagine more than a couple Jerry Schad trails will exist in the county eventually.

  7. scott b davis says:

    like many of us who have been touched by jerry’s life and work, i too felt naming a peak for him would be an appropriate gesture, though one that should be approached cautiously and with wisdom. since the idea first came to my mind and i later read it in the blog post above, one peak seems most fitting in my mind: 6582. as i understand, jerry was more enamored with the santa rosa mountains than most any other spot in the county, and this peak “…a bump on a ridge barely distinguishable from others…” would wear the title of ‘schad peak’ quite nicely. jerry mentioned it was labeled ‘dawns peak’ on some maps, though my topo (1960, photo inspected 1974) doesn’t label it as such. peak or no peak jerry’s wisdom and legacy have touched the lives of countless people. he lives on as a significant inspiration in my life, and will certainly continue to do so for the whole of my hiking days.

  8. scott b davis says:

    like many of us who have been touched by jerry’s life and work, i too felt naming a peak for him would be an appropriate gesture, though one that should be approached cautiously and with wisdom. since the idea first came to my mind and i later read it in the blog post above, one peak seems most fitting in my mind: 6582. as i understand, jerry was more enamored with the santa rosa mountains than most any other spot in the county, and this peak “…a bump on a ridge barely distinguishable from others…” would wear the title of ‘schad peak’ quite nicely. jerry mentioned it was labeled ‘dawns peak’ on some maps, though my topo (1960, photo inspected 1974) doesn’t label it as such. peak or no peak jerry’s wisdom and legacy have touched the lives of countless people. he lives on as a significant inspiration in my life, and will certainly continue to do so for the whole of my hiking days.

  9. gosh you guys really get about! i wonder if you had to choose which would be your favourite peak?

  10. gosh you guys really get about! i wonder if you had to choose which would be your favourite peak?

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