John Muir, geologist, writer, and naturalist, was born today, April 21, in 1838. Muir, who co-founded the Sierra Club, is known for his activism which led to the further preservation of Yosemite and the establishment of Yosemite National Park.
The preservation of Yosemite began when President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Grant Act on June 30, 1864, in the midst of the Civil War. The act protected Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove “for public use, resort and recreation.” The law was the first in the nation’s history allowing for a scenic natural area to be set aside. In 1890, Muir’s petition to the U.S. Congress for the National Parks bill led to the establishment of Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.
Below is a selection of images from The Associated Press’ photo archive, dates ranging from the early 1940s to the 1960s, showing hikers, convalescing servicemen, and couples enjoying Yosemite.
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