John Muir, 1908 courtesy Mariposa County Library.

John Muir - Father of the National Parks

John Muir - Father of the National Parks

In 1903, John Muir guided President Theodore Roosevelt into the Yosemite on a three-day wilderness trip starting at the Mariposa Grove. Muir shared the Sentinel Dome, Glacier Point, and Yosemite Valley and the endless views of Yosemite National Park. President Roosevelt, referring to his guide, is quoted as saying "Of course of all the people in the world, he was the one with whom it was best worthwhile thus to see the Yosemite."

Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir at Yosemite. Library of Congress.
On May 15, at their first evening campfire discussion, Muir presented his concern for the California State Grant of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove, surrounded in 1892 by Yosemite National Park. He wanted them receded to the United States for inclusion in the park. Their discussion resulted in the Presidential signature on the Yosemite Recession Bill in 1906.

"There can be nothing in the world more beautiful than the Yosemite, the groves of the giant sequoias ...our people should see to it that they are preserved for their children and their Children's children forever, with their majestic beauty all unmarred," said Theodore Roosevelt.

During his presidency, Theodore Roosevelt signed into existence 5 national parks, 18 national monuments, 55 national bird and wildlife refuges, and 150 national forests. Because one man shared.

Naturalist, John Burroughs, left, with John Muir on the trail to Nevada Falls in Yosemite, 1909. Courtesy University of the Pacific.


Sharing and inspiring empathy toward the natural world is John Muir's legacy. He gathered all his skills, storytelling, writing, environmental philosophy, botany, zoology, glaciology, humanist. He wrapped these with his approachable impassioned personality and shared all he loved with all who chose to walk the trails with him.

John Muir at the Merced River, Yosemite, 1900. Courtesy of the California State Library.


John of the Mountains. His life's story is found secured in books and institutions. His heart is on display in the land he fought for, and shared.

Kathy LaFollett is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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