Reflecting on John Muir

Today marks the end of my first week! This week was all about getting to know the staff and the park and unpacking my internship project. For John Muir National Historic Site I will be developing a site comprehensive plan which will be a guiding document determining the direction for the future management of the Mt. Wanda and Strain Ranch properties. The document will consist of synopses in which I will describe the existing conditions of natural and cultural resources and the visitor experience, as well as finding ways to interconnect them. My end goal is to come up with a masterpiece of a comprehensive plan, therefore I have set out to do much intensive research! I have a stack of documents on my desk that I have been reading through, and I am planning on getting to know the properties as well as I can and getting input from the staff and experts from different parks. I have been reading a lot of technical information but also historical documents, and can’t help but reflect on the importance of keeping the legacy of John Muir alive. At the beginning of the week I set out to answer this question: Why do we hold this man in such a high esteem? Well, he was someone who throughout his life attempted to unpack the meaning of life. Muir grew up in a very strict Orthodox Christian household with a father who did not let him explore his intellectual yearnings. His father did not allow him to read any books and had him work long hours on their Wisconsin farm everyday of the week even when sick. At the age of 24 he left home and met his mentor Jean Carr, who admired his intellect and later introduced him to influential people, including Ralph Waldo Emerson. From then on Muir spent his life learning, writing, questioning the world, and fighting for conservation. He is now known as a wanderer, poet naturalist, inventor, horticulturalist, and activist, among others. He did many great things during his life, so yes he is someone who we should continue talking about and keeping alive. By taking the time to learn about John Muir I think we can ask ourselves how we want to paint our own histories. He shows us how life could be full of passion, adventures, and stories!  (What my desk looks like!)

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