John Muir (21 April 1838 – 24 December 1914) was an American naturalist, author, and early preservationist whose letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions. His activism helped to save the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas, and he also founded the Sierra Club, the nation’s best known conservation organization.
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. Because of the spiritual quality and enthusiasm toward nature expressed in his writings, he was able to inspire readers, including presidents and congressmen, to take action to help preserve large nature areas. He is today referred to as the "Father of the National Parks," and the National Park Service produced a short documentary on his life.
The first sentence of Muir’s essay, The American Forests, summarizes his thoughts aptly. The forests of America, however slighted by man, must have been a great delight to God; for they were the best he ever planted.” This edition of his well known essay includes images of Muir, including one with President Teddy Roosevelt.