On August 25, 2016, the United States National Park Service celebrated its 100th birthday. If there is one person to be credited for the creation of America’s National Parks, it’s the Scottish naturalist and preservationist John Muir (1838-1914).
Muir was a born scientist, and studied botany and geology at the University of Wisconsin. After recovering from a factory accident that left him temporarily blinded, he left his job to see the beauty of the natural world around him! He walked a thousand miles from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico and then from San Francisco to Sierra Nevada – where he saw the ‘Range of Light’ that transformed his life.
God's First Temples
This bearded man who seemed to talk to flowers and rocks was considered an eccentric by many. But Muir felt a deep, spiritual connection to the land and animals and devoted himself to teaching others the lessons he had learned. As his fame grew, many great men of his day made their way to his pine cabin to hear him talk of ‘God’s First Temples.’
Muir’s numerous articles and books about his beloved Yosemite have been read by millions. His writing instills in generations of Americans, a deep, abiding love for their land. It urges them to see that‘wildness is a necessity’ and to appreciate places like Yosemite, for reasons other than economic value.His activism helped save the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas.
His legacy lives on
Even though he did not live to see it, the U.S. National Park Service was signed into law on August 25th,1916 – the result of Muir’s passionate vision of the power of nature to heal and renew us and our responsibility to protect it.