Formal Abstract

John Muir is the father of National Parks and quite the guy. From exploring Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and the Pacific to living in the Sierra Mountains, Muir’s travels have inspired him to focus on showing others the environment. Muir’s spiritual awakenings with wilderness are inspiring and show the beautify behind even the hard things in life. While Muir has had a few falls while in nature, he still manages to see it as a beautiful exploration full of emotions and journeys. Muir’s spiritual awakenings with nature are very interesting and open up the world and his way of thinking. Wilderness can do that to people. This paper will look into the life of John Muir and how he became the father of National Parks and what kind of spiritual adventures he has gone through due to the wilderness. In this paper, I also hope to look into the history of conservation and how Natives were treated during Muir’s time.


Powici, Chris. “What Is Wilderness? John Muir and the Question of the Wild.” Scottish Studies

Review, vol. 5, no. 1, Spring 2004, pp. 74–86. EBSCOhost,


Chris Powici goes into depth as to how John Muir talks about wilderness. Muir uses metaphors and religious imagery to describe his surroundings. Powici also talks about how Muir describes the Indians in the land. They walk softly on the Earth and leave a small footprint that can be compared to that of a bird or squirrel. The white man, on the other hand, leaves a footprint that will take much longer to disappear. Powici also discusses how wilderness is many terms and can not be defined as just one thing by one person. It means different things to different people.


Pesses, Michael W.” Environmental Knowledge, American Indians, and John Muir’s Trap.”

Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, vol. 80, 2018, pp. 112-133.

Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/pcg.2018.0006

Michael Pesses writes about how Muir was against industrial concepts, except for tourism. John Muir is praised by historians for wanting to conserve the environment. Pesses writes about how Muir talked down about American Indians and belittled them even after saying that the wilderness should be untouched by all but the indigenous people. American Indians are kept out of history books when it comes to the history of conservation. Pesses adds information about Denevan, who writes that American Indians did more harm to the environment than the Europeans. Muir also talks down on the American Indians, saying they were dirty and didn’t do much to help the environment.


McDowall, R M. “Biogeography in the Life and Literature of John Muir: a Ceaseless Search for

Pattern.” Wiley Online Library, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 16 Aug. 2010,

McDowall talks about Muir’s life and his accomplishments. This will really help my paper because I will be able to get to know Muir better than how much I know about him now. McDowall talks about Muir’s walk across the southern states in the United States. He also talks about Muir going to Yosemite and his life afterward. There is also a section on where Muir gets his ideas. Muir got his ideas mainly from the vegetation and forest structure. He would focus on the ecosystems in place. Muir also had a favorite subject, the water-ouzel.