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Father of national parks has ties to Liberty

LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation

POSTED: April 3, 2009 11:16 a.m.
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Joseph LeConte

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At this time of year, when the skies are blue, the weather warm and the bugs not too bad, I love to hike trails. There are a lot of places to hike in the area — state parks, national parks private nature preserves, etc.  
Have you ever wondered where the idea came from to reserve large chunks of natural areas for public enjoyment? Most people know President Theodore Roosevelt was a proponent and established the first national park, Yellowstone. Did someone give him this idea or was it something he just came up with on his own?
In fact, although Roosevelt was an avid outdoorsman, he got the idea for a national park from John Muir, who happens to have a connection with Liberty County.
John Muir (1838-1914) was America’s most famous and influential naturalist and conservationist. He has been called the “Father of our National Parks,” “Wilderness Prophet” and “Citizen of the Universe.” He once described himself more humorously, and perhaps most accurately, as a “poetico-trampo-geologist-botanist and ornithologist-naturalist.”
His words and deeds helped inspire Roosevelt’s innovative conservation programs, including establishing the first national monuments by presidential proclamation and Yosemite National Park by congressional action.
In 1892, John Muir and his lifelong friend, Joseph LeConte of LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation in Liberty County formed the Sierra Club “to make the mountains glad.” John Muir was the club’s first president, an office he held until his death in 1914. Muir’s Sierra Club has gone on to help establish a series of new national parks and a national wilderness preservation system.
This April 22, we celebrate Earth Day and April 21 happen to be John Muir’s birthday. So, grab a friend, a neighbor, your kids or your dog and find a little slice of nature. Take a walk.
Don’t let the lives and work of John Muir, Joseph LeConte and others like them go to waste. We are surrounded by an amazing treasure, the beauty of nature. Protect and enjoy it.

The report from LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation is normally written by Mary Beth Evans, foundation vice president. This month, however, she provided Miles’ article.

 

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