John Muir

(*21-APR-1838 Dunbar, Scotland; †24-DEC-1914 Los Angeles, California)

John Muir is very well known, especially in America, for his publications and books. He is considered the father of conservationism and, with President Theodore Roosevelt, who had read his books, is largely responsible for the establishment of national parks and national monuments. His books are either autobiographical or descriptions of nature, or both. Of course, there is also a cave description or two.

John Muir came from Scotland and travelled to the United States at the age of 11 with his father and two other siblings in preparation for the family's emigration. His father established the Fountain Lake Farm near Portage, Wisconsin. Due to the limited resources on the farm, Muir began to invent implements and machines. He also developed timepieces, thermometers, hygrometers and barometers. In 1860, he exhibited his inventions at the Agricultural Exposition in Madison, Wisconsin, and won the Ingenious Whittler's Award. He remained in Madison and attended the University of Wisconsin, leaving in 1863 without a degree. Die Gebühren verdiente er sich durch verschiedene Gelegenheitsjobs. He worked at various jobs and then decided to devote his life to the study of nature.

A 1,000 km hike in 1867 from Louisville, Kentucky, to Cedar Key became famous. In 1868 he wanted to see Yosemite and went by ship to San Francisco, from where he hiked Yosemite on foot. He worked as a shepherd, but made serious studies of the geology and botany of the Sierra besides. He became known through publications and made various journeys. He stayed in Yosemite until 1879.

He marries, takes over his father-in-law's plantation and starts a family. It was not until 1891 that he turned back to science and philosophy, economically secured by the plantation. In 1892, he and other comrades-in-arms founded the Sierra Club, one of the first conservation organisations. He was instrumental in establishing national parks and national monuments. To this end, he invited President Theodore Roosevelt, and together they visited Yosemite in 1903 and went on a camping tour lasting several days. Thus, John Muir is directly responsible for the existence of Yosemite National Park.