John Muir


[Charles Sprague] Sargent


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3no end of strength & growing expanding vigor in that latitude & soil, under fair conditions. I asked Fernow why the Sitka Sp. forest did not keep on West He mumbled a lot of stuff about prevailing winds, competition of Alder bushes & rank grass, & the "Japan Current" which simply meant he didn't know. The simple explanation is fire. The line of demarcation between the western treeless & forest regions to the eastward shows plainly that fire is the controlling agent. Most of the soil is volcanic & supports a dense lush growth of fire-feeding grass & brush. & I was told at Unalaska that notwithstanding the wet weather fire ran in the grass any time of year after a single day of dry sunshine & that constant care & fighting were required to save the [fir?] trees planted at Unalaska at Prince Williams Sound at the head of a cold icy fiard I found a pure forest of Patton Hemlock at sea-level, trees 2, to over 3 feet diameter, & 80 to 100 ft high. Bark pale gray-almost white. Pistillate flowers very dark blue 3/4 inch long. The grandest oldest mossiest Patton hemlock forest I ever saw. Waving long


Martinez [Calif .]

Date Original

1880 Mar 16


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 10, Image 0903

Copyright Statement

The unpublished works of John Muir are copyrighted by the Muir-Hanna Trust. To purchase copies of images and/or obtain permission to publish or exhibit them, see )

Owning Institution

Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University Archives, Boston, Massachusetts. Please contact this institution directly to obtain copies of the images or permission to publish or use them beyond educational purposes.

Copyright Holder

Muir-Hanna Trust

Copyright Date


Page Number

Page 3


John Muir, correspondence, letters, author, writing, naturalist, California, correspondent, mail, message, post, exchange of letters, missive, notes, epistle