Little Bits of History

Sierra Club

Posted in History by patriciahysell on May 28, 2011

John Muir

May 28, 1892: John Muir organizes and becomes the first president of the newly formed preservationist organization – the Sierra Club. Muir started with 128 charter members and remained president for 22 years, until his death. The first project for the club was the defeat of pending legislation that would infringe on the boundaries ofYosemite Valley’s protected lands.

Muir was born inScotlandin 1838 and his family moved toWisconsinin 1949. He went to theUniversityofWisconsinwhere he took his first botany class. He was enchanted but rather than graduate, decided to learn in by studying Nature herself. He walked fromFloridatoIndiana, studying the flora and fauna. He intended to go to South America, but when he contracted malaria, he opted to stay inSan Francisco.

Muir spent eight days exploring theYosemite Valleyand was struck by the vast beauty. After his vacation, he moved to the Sierra foothills and worked at several jobs. He took a job shepherding closer toYosemiteand used his spare time to further study the intricate landscape. He urged that the area be set up as a protected area. It was, but it remained initially in the control of the state rather than a national park.

Today, the Sierra Club has over 750,000 members in Americawith a sister organization in Canada. There are chapters across the country protecting 150 million acres of wilderness and wildlife habitats. Over 83% of each dollar collected is used for conservation and preservation activities. The club also publishes a bi-monthly magazine, SIERRA, and has since 1893 when the forerunner first hit print, the Sierra Club Bulletin. The written material helps to deliver in depth analysis of environmental concerns.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.”

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.”

“No temple made with hands can compare withYosemite.” – all from John Muir

Also on this day:
It Can’t Be Done – In 1937 the Golden Gate Bridge is opened to traffic.
Beautiful Dining – In 1999, The Last Supper’s restoration was completed.

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