John Muir (April 21, 1838 – December 24, 1914) also known as “John of the Mountains” and “Father of the National Parks”, was an influential Scottish-American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States. Friend of Teddy Roosevelt’s and eloquent spokesperson for the environment, his activism has helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley, Sequoia National Park and many other wilderness areas. As part of the campaign to make Yosemite a national park, Muir published two landmark articles on wilderness preservation in The Century Magazine, “The Treasures of the Yosemite” and “Features of the Proposed Yosemite National Park”. These essays pushed Congress to pass a bill in 1890 establishing Yosemite National Park.
Muir’s advocacy stemmed from direct experience. He spent years trekking the back country and found ways to express the grandeur and beauty of the land. He was as comfortable climbing a tree in lightning storm as sitting down to dinner with a President. On April 21, 2013, the first ever John Muir Day was celebrated in Scotland, which paid homage to the conservationist on the 175th anniversary of his birth.