One can say that his name is on the Mount Rushmore of conservation and

One can say that his name is on the mount rushmore of

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the National Parks idea would be as evident as they are today. One can say that his name is on the Mount Rushmore of conservation and preservation. Although Muir did not discover the idea of conservation and preservation, it was his passion that made it apparent to the America. Similarly to Henry Ford, who did not invent the automobile, but made it easily available. Both helped radicalized a new concept in their respected fields, Ford for transportation and Muir for land use. 3 Muir’s indirect impact on recreation and leisure In 1890, a bill was passed in the U.S. Congress creating Yosemite National Park. Two years later Muir helped form the Sierra Club to explore, preserve, and enjoy the mountains of the west coast of the United States. 4 Today, for the first time, there is almost a universal acceptance of the value of recreation and leisure; I think this is mainly in part to John Muir because of his life works and how he captured the imagination of the country with his journeys and his writings. One major event that comes to mind is when Muir persuaded President Theodore Roosevelt who was touring the country at the time, Muir convinced the President into ditching his entourage for
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a three-night camping trip in Yosemite National Park in 1903. This single event is probably one of the most historical camping trips ever to be documented. This very trip had a lasting impact on President Roosevelt and was probably responsible for the decision and implementation of the National Parks idea. 5 Muir combined a traditionally romantic and radically new vision of man's place in nature. His writing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was at once a scientific and a poetic voice for preservation of the natural environment. Muir saw nature as not just a storeroom of raw materials for man's monetary needs, but as a spiritual resource as well. He wrote, with characteristic humor, "Our crude civilization engenders a multitude of wants, and lawgivers are ever at their wit's end devising. The hall and the theater and the church have been invented, and compulsory education. Why not add compulsory recreation?" 6 But Muir wasn't talking here of mere diversion, for the recreation he advocated was in reality discovering what makes life most worthwhile for many people – the wondrous beauty of the forests, the mountains, the wild places. "Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean..." 7 Muir lived these principles himself in his adventurous life – whether climbing the Sierra peaks, traversing Alaskan glaciers, riding an avalanche down a mountain and surviving, exploring the source of waterfalls, or traveling all over the world to see trees and mountain landscapes.
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  • Spring '10
  • Allen
  • John Muir, Yosemite National Park

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