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Originally from Michigan, Richard Smith came to Alaska in the 1970's with his mother and stepfather, Arlene and Ray Bell, who settled in Central, Alaska. Richard worked on the dredge at the Coal Creek mine in the late 1970s and has a cabin at Forty Mile on the Yukon River, up river from the village of Circle. He has spent many years living a subsistence-based seasonal lifestyle at the cabin, on the river, and at Woodchopper Creek, where he traps for a living and hunts and fishes to sustain himself. In 1991, his trapping partner was Paul Nathaniel from Circle, Alaska. Having this cabin site and having used the land and resources in the region for a long time, Richard was effected by the establishment of the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and had feelings about the management regulations imposed by the National Park Service.