Our National Parks

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University of California Press, 1991 - National parks and reserves - 278 pages
This addition to the John Muir Library Series is a collection of ten essays in which Muir extols the beauty, grandeur, and importance of Yosemite, Sequoia, Yellowstone, and other National Parks of the American West and urges the preservation of these natural areas. First published in 1901, this book brought Muir to the attention of President Theodore Roosevelt. The naturalist's message is as critical today as when it first appeared in print. In characteristic elegiac style, Muir captures the vital essence of Yosemite, Yellowstone, and other areas, detailing their natural attractions: the breathtaking forests, lush alpine meadows, massive granite domes, towering sequoias, bursting geysers, thundering waterfalls, and crystalline glacial lakes. At the same time, he motivates readers to preserve "these Western woods - trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierra." Muir guides readers through the wild parks and forest reservations of the West, "venturing and roaming [and] getting in touch with the nerves of Mother Earth." He fully describes flora and fauna, from the humblest mosses to giant redwoods, from insects and lizards to the Sierra brown bear. Essential reading for anyone who wants to protect America's wild lands, these essays heighten readers' appreciation of nature and inspire them to preserve the wilderness areas Muir loved so well.


The Wild Parks and Forest Reservations of the West
The Yellowstone National Park
The Yosemite National Park
The Forests of the Yosemite Park
The Wild Gardens of the Yosemite Park
Among the Animals of the Yosemite
Among the Birds of the Yosemite
The Fountains and Streams of the Yosemite National Park
The Sequoia and General Grant National Parks
The American Forests

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About the author (1991)

The naturalist John Muir was born in Dunbar, Scotland. When he was 11 years old, he moved to the United States with his family and lived on a Wisconsin farm, where he had to work hard for long hours. He would rise as early as one o'clock in the morning in order to have time to study. At the urging of friends, he took some inventions he had made to a fair in Madison, Wisconsin. This trip resulted in his attending the University of Wisconsin. After four years in school, he began the travels that eventually took him around the world. Muir's inventing career came to an abrupt end in 1867, when he lost an eye in an accident while working on one of his mechanical inventions. Thereafter, he focused his attention on natural history, exploring the American West, especially the Yosemite region of California. Muir traveled primarily on foot carrying only a minimum amount of food and a bedroll. In 1880 Muir married Louie Strentzel, the daughter of an Austrian who began the fruit and wine industry in California. One of the first explorers to postulate the role of glaciers in forming the Yosemite Valley, Muir also discovered a glacier in Alaska that later was named for him. His lively descriptions of many of the natural areas of the United States contributed to the founding of Yosemite National Park in 1890. His urge to preserve these areas for posterity led to his founding of the Sierra Club in 1892.

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