Great American Conservationists—John Muir


“Everything is flowing — going somewhere, animals and so- called lifeless rocks as well as water. Thus the snow flows fast or slow in grand beauty-making glaciers and avalanches; the air in majestic floods carrying minerals, plant leaves, seeds, spores, with streams of music and fragrance; water streams carrying rocks… While the stars go streaming through space pulsed on and on forever like blood…in Nature’s warm heart.”

John Muir is one of the greatest legacies of conservation—he founded The Sierra Club and is considered to be the “Father of our National Parks.” As a writer, he explored themes of the importance of experiencing and protecting our natural heritage. These contributed greatly to the parks we know and love today: Yosemite, Sequoia, Mount RainierPetrified Forest, and Grand Canyon National Parks.

His work inspired President Theodore Roosevelt to pursue conservation ferociously, which includes the first National Monuments by Presidential Proclamation, and Yosemite National Park by congressional action. His 3-day camping trip with President Roosevelt in 1903 is greatly documented and narrated by Ken Burns in this PBS segment.

John Muir’s legacy is as strong today as it was over 100 years ago when he went camping with President Theodore Roosevelt and took photos by Sequoia trees. Many of today’s movements and works have Muir to thank for their success.


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