John Muir

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

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“Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” –John Muir in a letter to his wife Louie in July 1888

Background/Inspiration

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"Going to the woods is going home." -John Muir

           John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland on April 21,1838. Eleven years later, Muir and his family moved to America. They settled on a farm in Wisconsin. When John was allowed a break from helping his father with the farm, he and his brother would go and stroll through the fields and explore the woods. Due to his exploration of nature, he became gradually more fascinated with the outdoor world. He started to invent and create things out of wood, such as clocks. As time passed Muir went to college at the University of Wisconsin. He spent three years at that college, but then decided he wanted to go explore the northern United States, and parts of Canada. So he did and took various jobs to be able to support himself while he traveled these captivating lands. While working one of his odd-jobs, he suffered a blinding injury. After his injury it took him a month to regain his eyesight, but it was then that he devoted his life to the natural world.  He traveled many places and eventually found California to be the place called home. He very much enjoyed Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada. It was there that sparked Muir's writing.

Writing

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“The sun shines not on us but in us.” -John Muir

                After Muir had explored the wonders of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, he wrote his controversial theory of the glaciation of Yosemite Valley. This was his kick start to his writing career. He wrote many articles that were a part of a series called "Studies of the Sierra," and Muir become known throughout the country. He then traveled for many years. Later he decided to become more involved in his writing and wrote all about his encounters with nature during his travels. He wrote 300 articles and wrote two popular books that expressed his naturalistic philosophy of life.

              John then, wrote another series of articles that brought up the fact that sheep and cattle were damaging the mountain meadows and forests. The articles were written for "Century" magazine. With the help of Robert Underwood Johnson, John was able to fix the damage. In response Muir convinced congress to make Yosemite National Park.

Contributions

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

-John Muir

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              Muir's philosophies greatly mimic those of the transcendental period. He thought that there was something better to be found, and believed he was the one who found it. He knew that nature was something that shouldn't be taken for granted and so he sought to learn about it and take care of it and hoped others would take the same joy in it that he did. Through John's wonders with nature and his transcendental philosophy of life, he was a part of the making of national parks and set the precedent for creating new national parks. John Muir was involved in the making the National Parks named: Yosemite, Sequoia, Mount Rainier, Petrified Forest and the Grand Canyon. Because of his efforts to preserve nature by creating national parks, John Muir is known to be the "Father of National Parks." Without his love of nature and fascination of writing about it, the idea of preserving nature so that all can see it and enjoy it, many national parks would most likely not be here today.

Sources

"John Muir: A Brief Biography." Sierra Club. Sierra Club, 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

"John Muir Quotes." Goodreads. Goodreads Inc., 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

"Who Was John Muir?" Sierra Club. Sierra Club, 2014. Web. 08 Dec. 2014.

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