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photo: Library of Congress

Our Connection to John Muir

I care to live only to entice people to look at nature’s loveliness.
—from Letters of John Muir

John Muir believed nature has the power to restore, inspire and bring “a practical sort of immortality.” The man whose life encompassed a passionate advocacy to preserve our country’s most treasured lands made his home where today his namesake, John Muir Land Trust, works to preserve the East Bay’s most beautiful open space.

Saving John Muir’s Home and Land

John Muir married and raised two daughters at his fruit ranch in Martinez, CA, now the John Muir National Historic Site. Mount Wanda, a critical 325-acre property, once part of Muir’s landholdings, was not included when the U.S. National Park Service established the Site in 1964. When plans to buy the land from a local rancher came to the brink of collapse, JMLT stepped in and pledged the funds needed to complete the purchase and save the property. JMLT is honored to have helped save John Muir’s home and the lands where he lived and worked, and that inspired him on a daily basis.

“Another lovely day, mostly solid sunshine. Took a fine fragrant walk up the West Hill with Wanda and Helen, who I am glad to see love walking, flowers, trees, and every bird and beast and creeping thing. Buttercup, clover, gilia, Bodiaea, Allium, Dodecatheron, larkspur, and portulacas are in flower. The oaks are in full leaf. A fine, fragrant walk, the babies delighted.” –from John of the Mountains, Chapter VII entitled “At Home on the Ranch” 1895

Muir lived in Contra Costa County longer than anywhere in his life (from 1880 until his death in 1914), and it was here that he penned his most influential works—books, articles and letters that earned him the title “Father of our National Park System.”

John Muir’s Footsteps

We became John Muir Land Trust (formerly Muir Heritage Land Trust) in 2015 to honor the spirit of Muir’s lifelong mission and celebrate his legacy. JMLT recently purchased and donated to the John Muir National Historic Site the 44 acres of West Hills Farm, a property adjacent to Mount Wanda. Knowing that we and our growing community of supporters are literally following in Muir’s footsteps by protecting the lands where he enjoyed walks in his beloved Contra Costa County is a special thrill.

Continuing Need

JMLT protects open space close to where people live—and where lands are most threatened. The pressures of population growth have led to widespread development of open space, farms and ranch lands in throughout the East Bay. John Muir Land Trust relies on the generous support of people like you to protect the special places that remain, so that generations today and to come may enjoy nature close to home.