ohn Muir (21 April 1838 – 24 December 1914) was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of U.S. wilderness. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, have been read by millions and are still popular today. His activism helped to save the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. The Sierra Club, which he founded, is now one of the most important conservation organizations in the United States. One of the most well-known hiking trails in America, the 211-mile John Muir Trail was named in his honor. Other places named in his honor are Muir Woods National Monument, Muir Beach and Muir Glacier.
In his later life, Muir devoted most of his time to the preservation of the Western forests. He petitioned Congress for the National Park Bill that was passed in 1899, establishing both Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. It was due to the spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature that he expressed in his writings that he was able to inspire his readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas.
Muir's biographer, Steven Holmes, states that Muir has become "one of the patron saints of twentieth-century American environmental activity," both political and recreational. As a result, his writings are commonly discussed in books and journals, and he is often quoted in books by nature photographers such as Ansel Adams. "Muir has profoundly shaped the very categories through which Americans understand and envision their relationships with the natural world," writes Holmes. He was noted for being an ecological thinker, political spokesman, and religious prophet, whose writings became a personal guide into nature for countless individuals, making his name "almost ubiquitous" in the modern environmental consciousness. According to author William Anderson, Muir exemplified "the archetype of our oneness with the ea