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Conservationist John Muir in the Sierra Nevada, Mountains, California, ca. 1902

Naturalist John Muir devoted much of his life to exploring and studying the Sierra Nevada mountains. His campaign to protect Yosemite Valley influenced Congress to create Yosemite National Park. Muir urged Congress to preserve areas of wilderness.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Conservationist John Muir in the Sierra Nevada, Mountains, California, ca. 1902

Protecting Natural Resources - 2

The development of the West brought an ever-increasing number of settlers. When resources became depleted or despoiled, voices were raised to preserve the West’s scenic lands and their fragile environments. In 1864, Congress acted. Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias became the first parklands set aside by the federal government. They were initially granted to the state of California and later became a National Park in 1890. Yosemite was made part of the National Park Service when it was established by Congress in 1916.