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Seer of the Sierras

On May 28 1892, in San Francisco, California, conservationist John Muir founded the Sierra Club. Along with many hikers and wilderness travellers, Muir shared a vision of regional heritage sites set aside for public reach, enjoyment, and introduction to nature’s beauty and spectacle. Muir had involved writers, university students and professors, scientists, and politicians in some of his nature excursions. He continued to find people of like mind and worked together with them to form the club.

Since many of the Sierra Club’s original members were scientists, they began large environment projects that included mountain exploration, mapping, photographing, and reporting. The club’s bulletins included reports of excursions, geography guides, forestry information, and scientific papers of aspects of natural history. The bulletin continues today as the club’s magazine, Sierra.

The club first provided outings for people to travel and visit the Sierras, then to other areas throughout the country. Lectures on biology, forestry, and geology prefaced each outdoor adventure. Some members used the wilderness excursions to promote the National Park Service and propose future parks to members of Congress.

The Sierra Club created maps, trails, and hiking guides. It introduced the proper use of the climbing rope to member mountaineers. Excursions became international right along with its membership. As greater numbers used outdoor environments, club members organized wilderness conferences with government agencies, professional guides, and commercial outfitters to keep regions accessible but with emphasis on minimum impact outings. Today, at 120 years old, the Sierra Club encourages its members to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.