John Muir – The Wilderness Prophet

Who Was John Muir?

John Muir (1838-1914) was America’s most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist. He is one of California’s most important historical personalities.

He has been called “The Father of our National Parks,” “Wilderness Prophet,” and “Citizen of the Universe.” He once described himself more humorously, and perhaps most accurately, as, a “poetico-trampo-geologist-botanist and ornithologist-naturalist etc. etc. !!!!”

President Roosevelt met John Muir in Yosemite 100 years ago

Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir on Glacier Point.

As a wilderness explorer, he is renowned for his exciting adventures in California’s Sierra Nevada, among Alaska’s glaciers, and world wide travels in search of nature’s beauty.

His words and deeds helped inspire President Theodore Roosevelt’s innovative conservation programs, including establishing the first National Monuments by Presidential Proclamation, and Yosemite National Park by congressional action.

In 1892, John Muir and other supporters formed the Sierra Club “to make the mountains glad.”

John Muir was the Club’s first president, an office he held until his death in 1914.

Muir’s Sierra Club has gone on to help establish a series of new National Parks and a National Wilderness Preservation System.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

John Muir 1901

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” Brought into right relationships with the wilderness, man would see that his appropriation of Earth’s resources beyond his personal needs would only bring imbalance and begat ultimate loss and poverty by all.

Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would still be destroyed – chased and hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides. Branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones.

Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests.

It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees in these Western woods – trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra.

Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining, leveling tempests and floods; but he cannot save them from fools – only Uncle Sam can do that.”

John Muir

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