“This is the best tree lover’s monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.”
—John Muir, conservationist
December 5, 2007, San Francisco, CA: Muir Woods National Monument, one of the last—and most beloved—stands of old growth coast redwoods in the world, will celebrate its 100th anniversary as a National Monument on January 9, 2008. The National Park Service and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy are proud to be organizing a year-long commemoration of Muir Woods’ Centennial Year.
A national park site protecting the tallest tree species on Earth, Muir Woods attracts about 1 million people every year, inspiring them with redwoods over 260 feet high and more than 1,200 years old. The media and general public are cordially invited to honor these primeval giants by attending Centennial festivities, guided hikes, volunteer opportunities, and other special events.
To protect a stand of ancient redwoods in Redwood Canyon, businessman (and later Congressman) William Kent and his wife Elizabeth Thacher Kent donated 298 acres to the federal government. On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the woods America’s 10th National Monument—and the first monument created from land donated by a private individual. Following Kent’s wishes, it was named for John Muir, the renowned conservationist who founded the Sierra Club.
“Muir Woods’ establishment in 1908 was a truly remarkable moment in the natural and social history of the United States,” said Brian O’Neill, general superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. “This ancient forest now stands as a cherished part of the Golden Gate National Parks, a place of reflection for visitors, a haven for endangered species, and a living and enduring symbol of the conservation ethic.”
Kent’s singular act—a donation by a private individual to preserve lands for greater public benefit—has shown the way for 100 years of environmental and conservation work around the Bay. Indeed, Muir Woods and the Kent gift are regarded as inspirations for the citizen-led creation of the Golden Gate National Parks—a spectacular 75,000-acre greenbelt north and south of the Golden Gate that includes the Marin Headlands, Alcatraz, the Presidio, and other sites.
“Kent’s gift not only saved a stand of endangered trees but also crystallized an idea central to our current conservation efforts—that private philanthropy can lead and inspire the most extraordinary acts of environmental good,” said Greg Moore, executive director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
IMAGES OF MUIR WOODS
HISTORIC IMAGES OF MUIR WOODS
Visit the National Park Service's Plan Your Visit website to download Muir Woods visitor brochures in seven different languages and visit the Muir Woods Centennial site for more information about the Centennial, including a 100-year chronology and historic resource study of the monument.