Perhaps the most significant event in the history of the National Park Service was the early friendship and influence of John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. It is because of him that we have Yellowstone National Park, as well as Rocky Mountain and other areas preserved by people influenced by him.
I think, though, that the best thing about John Muir was his writing. It is very accessible and entertaining; he was not writing to impress people with his knowledge…he was writing to impress people about the importance of nature. Some of my favorite quotes follow:
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” — from Our National Parks (1901)
“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” — from Our National Parks (1901)
“As long as I live, I’ll hear waterfalls and birds and winds sing. I’ll interpret the rocks, learn the language of flood, storm, and the avalanche. I’ll acquaint myself with the glaciers and wild gardens, and get as near the heart of the world as I can.” — from The Journals of John Muir
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.”
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”