Muir Woods National Monument
“This is the best tree-lovers monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world,” declared conservationist John Muir when describing the majestic coast redwoods of Muir Woods.
Until the 1800’s, many northern California coastal valleys were covered with coast redwood trees similar to those now found in Muir Woods National Monument. The forest along Redwood Creek in today’s Muir Woods was spared from logging because it was hard to get to. Noting that Redwood Creek contained one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s last uncut stands of old-growth redwood, Congressman William Kent and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent, bought 295 acres here for $45,000 in 1905. To protect the redwoods the Kents donated the land to the United States Federal Government and, in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared it a national monument. Roosevelt suggested naming the area after Kent, but Kent wanted it named for conservationist John Muir.
Muir Beach: This semi-circular cove offers a chance to relax and enjoy the California coastal scenery. The Muir Beach Overlook provides a dramatic view of the California coastline.
Stinson Beach: The sandy beach stretches beneath steep hills rising to Mount Tamalpais with vistas out to sea. Swimming is advised only from late May to mid-September when lifeguards are on duty.
Olema Valley: This pastoral landscape is a hiker’s paradise of forested canyons, tree-lined ridges, open grassy slopes, and historic farm buildings. Most trails are long and many are steep, ascending to ridgetops for ocean views.
John Muir: Philosopher, Scientist, Author. Young John Muir’s family emigrated from Scotland to Wisconsin in 1848. Muir had a lively interest in nature and after brief studies at the University of Wisconsin he left school for what he would call “the University of the Wilderness.” On his lengthy wanderings Muir contemplated man’s relationship to nature, concluding that all life forms have inherent significance and the right to exist. Humans, Muir decided, are no greater or lesser than other forms of life. Muir eventually won public acceptance of conservation as an environmental ethic and inspired generations of wilderness advocates.
January 9, 1908: Proclamation of Muir Woods National Monument, consisting of 295 acres. Muir Woods becomes the 7th National Monument, and the first created from land donated by a private individual.
December 1928: Kent Memorial erected at the Kent Tree in Fern Canyon (present day Fern Creek Canyon). The offficial dedication wouldn’t come till May 5, 1929.
National Monument – January 9, 1908