It’s with great sadness that we learned that Scenic Nevada’s founder Douglas G. Smith, our dear friend, mentor and driving force, passed away at Renown Medical Center on March 25, 2019. Doug was at the helm of Scenic Nevada from its inception in 2000 until his retirement from our organization about six years ago.

Doug Smith

It’s no exaggeration to say that the goals we accomplished in the past 19 years were only possible through the vision and dedication of Doug, who, along with a handful of other determined citizens, set out to preserve Nevada’s scenic heritage.

In late 1999 Doug gathered a group of like-minded Reno residents together to work on the billboard problem here, at a time when our public officials were not interested in curbing billboard blight.

Shortly after, the group realized that the only path forward was getting the issue placed on the next ballot.

Easier said than done. But within four months of that decision, the necessary petition signatures were gathered and Question R1 was qualified for the 2000 ballot. We won handily with 57 percent voting to ban new billboards in Reno.

After launching Scenic Nevada, many more actions to raise awareness of our scenic heritage followed under Doug’s leadership. Annual events like the Mt. Rose Highway cleanups, fund-raising art auctions, illuminating speaker series on preserving scenic character, the statewide “Last Chance Scenic Places” project and fighting back against the threat of digital billboards were among the many events and issues Doug took on with aplomb.

Doug was recognized for his contribution throughout the years. He was a 2004 recipient of a Golden Pinecone Award, sponsored by environmental groups in northern Nevada, in recognition for his work on environmental issues and his commitment to the community. Also, Doug was a recipient of the W. Clark Santini Cup in 2002 for community service through oral communication.

He will be missed, and his legacy of scenic preservation lives on in Scenic Nevada and the vistas he protected.