Pioneers of Environmental Protection
21, 1838 in Dunbar, Scotland
Died: 1914 in a Los Angeles
Attended the University of
Wisconsin, 1860 - 1863
Authored many books and influential
writings detailing conservation and preservation ideas
Called the "Father of the
National Park System"
Helped found the Sierra Club in 1892
and was president until his death
Father of two daughters
Through his works and deeds, John
Muir helped to create America’s National Parks, its National
Monuments and its great forest reserves.
Muir began his conservation career
after an accident, while working in a carriage parts shop, left him
with a blinding eye injury. Upon recovering, he vowed to turn his
eyes toward the fields and the woods. He traveled the United States,
contracting malaria in 1867 while on his trek across the Florida
swamps to the Gulf of Mexico.
Observations from his travels led him
to write about conserving and preserving America’s natural beauty.
Muir’s writings moved presidents, congressmen and plain Americans
to action. His book American Forests led President Grover
Cleveland to establish 13 Forest Reserves totaling more than 21
million acres. This eventually led to the creation of the U. S.
President Theodore Roosevelt was
moved by Muir’s book, Our National Parks, published in
1901. Muir and Roosevelt met in 1903 and together they laid the
foundation of Roosevelt’s conservation programs. During his term,
Roosevelt established 148 million acres of National Forest, five
National Parks, and 23 National Monuments. He established the nation’s
first wildlife refuge on Pelican Island in Florida as a result of
his meeting with Muir.
Muir had a direct hand in the
preservation of land resulting in the creation of Yosemite (1890),
Sequoia (1890), Mount Rainier (1897), Petrified Forest (1906), and
Grand Canyon (1908) National Parks. In 1892, he helped to found the
Sierra Club to "make the mountains glad." Today it is
America’s oldest and largest environmental organization. He was
president of the club from its start until his death in 1914.
Long after his death, Muir continues
to be an inspiration to those striving to protect the natural
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