we try to pick out anything by itself,
we find it hitched to everything else in
the Universe." –
As a boy, John Muir immigrated
with his family from Scotland to a Wisconsin
farm near Portage. As an explorer, naturalist,
author and political activist, he made
early conservation history. Muir spent
much of his adult life traveling the continent
on foot, keeping vivid journals of his
wilderness experiences. A founder of the
Sierra Club, he played key roles in establishment
of Yosemite National Park and other important
additions to the national parks and forest
Muir's childhood days on
a farm near Portage helped shape him into
the man he would become.
Muir was a conservation icon in America and the world.
A naturalist, explorer and writer, he was an influential
conservationist, who worked to preserve wilderness
areas and wildlife from commercial exploitation and
Muir's work helped to establish Yosemite National
Park and Sequoia National Park, both in California.
Many natural sites have been named in his honor,
including Muir Woods National Monument, a virgin
stand of redwoods, near San Francisco, California.
was born in Scotland in 1838. His family immigrated
to the United States when he was 11 years old.
Muir attended the University of Wisconsin
from 1860 to 1863 but did not graduate.
When he left college, he took extensive
walking trips to study nature, especially
plants. In 1867 he made a walking trip
from Indianapolis to the Gulf of Mexico
to observe the plants, animals and physical
features of the country. During this trip
Muir kept extensive journals, which were
published after his death as A
Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf.
In 1868 Muir
went to Yosemite Valley in California and explored
and studied the area for the next six years.
He argued forcefully that people should
defend species and wilderness areas from
devastation by humans.
In 1889 he initiated a movement to preserve the
sequoias in the Yosemite Valley and the surrounding
area. In 1890 his efforts led Congress to establish
Yosemite and Sequoia national parks.
In 1892 Muir
and some of his supporters founded the Sierra
Club, dedicated to the exploration and preservation
of American wildlife and wilderness. He also
influenced President Theodore Roosevelt to
set aside national monuments, national
forest reserves, and national parks.
was one of the first two inductees into
the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame.
The other was Aldo Leopold, another world-famous
conservationist who had his roots in Wisconsin.
Together, the two men stand as twin towers
of conservation and are featured on the logo
for the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame.
• One of America's
premier conservation figures
• Walked across the continent, keeping a journal
• Helped establish Yosemite National Park and
Sequoia National Park and other wilderness preserves
• Founded the Sierra Club to preserve wildlife
(Publication of this fact sheet made possible
with assistance from Krause Publications, Iola, Wisconsin.)
For further information on
John Muir, read his Hall
of Fame monograph.
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