Navigation
Search

A 1893 petition written by John Muir asking the House of Representatives to preserve Yosemite National Park.

Transcript:

To the Chairman of the
Committee on Agriculture
House of Representatives
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir,
Whereas at a meeting of the Sierra Club of Saturday, November 5th 1892, said club being a corporation formed for the purposes, to wit: “To explore, enjoy and render accessible the mountain regions of the Pacific Coast; to publish authentic information concerning them; to enlist the support and co-operation of the people and the government in preserving the forests and other natural features of the Sierra Nevada Mountains” a resolution was introduced and unanimously adopted directing the Board of DIrectors to prepare a memorial to Congress against Bill HR 5764 introduced by Mr. Caminetti and to use every effort to defeat it,

Therefore The Board of Directors of the Sierra Club in accordance with the above resolution do respectfully and emphatically protest against the diminution of the Yosemite National Park situated in California as contemplated in Bill HR 5764 introduced by Mr. Caminetti and referred by the House of Representatives to your honorable Committee

As shown in the accompanying map all

[page 2]

the territory outside of the blue lines is to be taken out of the Yosemite National Park Reservation, which would

First: endanger in JHS, R25E and R26E, J3S, R25E the headwaters of the San Joaquin River, a river on whose water the irrigation of the whole San Joaquin Valley is dependent.

Secondly: in J1S, J2S, R19E, J1S, J2S, R20E it will denude the watersheds between the branches of the Tuolumne River and Merced River of the most valuable timber, destroy forests which in their magnificent growth form an attraction to visitors not only from the State of California, but from all over the United States and from abroad and although provision is made in said bill to reserve a tract one mile square containing the Tuolumne Big Tree Grove and also a similar tract about the Merced Grove the destruction of the surrounding forest will necessarily cause a great danger through forest fires to these two groves of Sequoia gigantea, which ought to be and have heretofore been protected by the United States Government with singular interest.

Thirdly: The taking out of the Reservation of J2N, J1N, R19E will hand over to private ownership most valuable reservoir sites which ought to be zealously guarded for the benefit of the state at large.

Fourthly: The exemption of J2N, R20E, of J2N, R21E, J2N + ½ J1N, R22E, of J2N + ½ J1N R23E of J2N + ¾ J1N R24E and of J1S R25E will endanger the watershed of the

[page 3]

tributaries of the Tuolumne River as it passes through the Grand Cañon of the Tuolumne River and finally through Hetch-Hetchy Valley, a valley which in grandeur + uniqueness is in many respects the peer of Yosemite and will in future form one of the principal attractions of the Sierra Nevada of California.

If the territory of the Yosemite National Park should be reduced in accordance with the bill HR5764, the dangers to guard against which the Park was originally set aside, would again arise, the herds of sheep which now for two seasons have successfully been kept out of the reservation would denude the watersheds of their vegetation, the forest fires following in the wake of the herds would destroy the magnificent forests and thereafter the reservation itself and the timber of priceless value to the prosperity of the State would become the prey of the speculator.

The Directors of the Sierra Club respectfully point out that Senate Bill No 3235 proposed by Mr. Paddock will meet any objections in the interest of mining or farming industries, if there be any, to the continuance of the present limits of the Yosemite National Park Reservation.

John Muir
President Sierra Club

Warren Olney
FIrst Vice-President Sierra Club

J. H. Senger
Secretary Sierra Club

San Francisco, January 2nd 1893