John Muir and his efforts to preserve Mount Rainier

As president of the newly formed Sierra Club, John Muir gave numerous lectures and wrote various articles advocating for the preservation of Mount Rainier from the years 1893 to 1899.  Muir also made efforts to unite other organizations across the nation who were pursuing the same cause.

Mount Rainier
Wildflowers on Mount Rainier

NPS Photo/Jasmine Horn

An Ascent of Mt. Rainier

John Muir first visited Mount Rainer on August 8, 1888 with educator and mountaineer Edward S. Ingraham, mountaineer P.B. Van Trump, artist William Keith, attorney Daniel Waldo Bass, botanist Charles V. Piper, photographer A.C. Warner, Henry Loomis, and a teen-age boy named N.O. Booth.  After almost two weeks of enduring spoiled food, volcanic ash windstorms, and falling rocks, Muir and six of the other party members reached the summit.  Muir then wrote a brief article, An Ascent of Mt. Rainier, shortly after his trip.

In 1893, President Benjamin Harrison created the Pacific Forest Reserve which included the majority of Mount Rainier within its boundaries except for the western portion.  Because Mount Rainier was part of a forest reserve, logging and grazing was still permitted as long as it was done within reason.  Immediately after Mount Rainier became a forest reserve, several organizations formed committees for the sole purpose of making Mount Rainier a National Park.  These organizations included the Geological Society of America, National Geographic Society, Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club, and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

 

John Muir
John Muir

Library of Congress image

As president of the newly formed Sierra Club, John Muir gave numerous lectures and wrote various articles advocating for the preservation of Mount Rainier from the years 1893 to 1899.  Muir also made efforts to unite other organizations across the nation who were pursuing the same cause.  This was especially true with local mountain climbing organizations in the Seattle area such as Mountaineers, who’s members sought out Muir’s influential endorsement.  After years of advocating for the preservation of Mount Rainier by Muir, environmental organizations, and famous mountaineers living in the Seattle area such as Edward S. Ingraham and P.B. Van Trump, congress established Mount Rainier National Park in 1899.