We've explored the parts of Muir's life where he discovers nature and then writes about it, and now we're at the point where Muir helped to create the Sierra Club.  With the help of other conservationists of the time, they started what is still known as the nation's most influential environmental education and conservation organization.

In the late 1800s, Muir and Robert Underwood Johnson, the editor of the magazine The Century, planned a campaign to create Yosemite National Park in California. They realized, however, that they needed the support of an organization behind their work. With the help of group already forming at the University of California, Muir created the Sierra Club on May 28, 1892.

The three purposes of the club - recreation, conservation, and education - are still the major tenants of the Sierra Club today. Muir's philosophy was that people coming back from wilderness trips would be inspired to fight for the preservation of that place.  He used that method on President Theodore Roosevelt, who he convinced to go on a camping trip with him in Yosemite in 1903 that resulted in Roosevelt's support for the creation of Yosemite National Park.

John Muir and the Sierra Club posing in front of a large tree in Yosemite

Whether you're a member of the Sierra Club, an avid outdoor enthusiast, or a visitor to our National Parks, you have John Muir's efforts to thank. After a period of wandering, Muir found a calling in the Sierras of California, wrote passionately and expertly for the protection of our national land, and created organizations and political support from groups like the Sierra Club to create many of our national parks and a spirit of conservation.

Jared Prince