John Muir


John Muir


[Robert Underwood] Johnson


Martinez, May 8th 1890.

My dear Mr Johnson

I am glad you think MacKenzie is all right & that I am "all off" for he has done good work thus far though I have not yet seen a word in his letters that could injure the stage & hotel company & saddletrain company He was working for the Washbourns when we saw him & his last letter opposing the Vandever bill without good reason as far as I could see led me to believe he was still working in their interest. What disadvantage would result from the surrounding region being in the hands of the general government I cannot imagine. Nor can I imagine how any change for the better in the Yo. management is to be made by a promise from our legislature that the Valley should be "decently managed." Make the present management promise to be good &


take all the Yo. basin under control, while the management has not yet confessed it is bad. A more utterly senseless & worthless column of words could not be gathered together on the subject, & if honest the writer must have been what Burns calls "foo." Still I hope I may be mistaken. I have never heard of the "Expositer" & how that paper can be a "first class means of adddressing the people of California" I cant see. I suppose it must be one of the foothill papers of Mariposa or Fresno & its Yo letters might be copied by the city papers & thus get widely published. Anyhow Ill wait & grumble no more. I inclose a Robinson letter from the Examiner very selfish but honest I think & calculated to do more good than harm perhaps. He promised to let me see anything he wrote before offering for publication but has not done so


& though I saw him yesterday he did not mention this letter. I also enclose a paragraph from the Alta editorial column which is in the right direction. I saw Sam Miller the R.R. & Stage Co agent yesterday. Also Mr Cook the Yo landlord, & you would have been delighted to see how fine & wide an improvement had taken place in the views of the gentlemen on Yo management. They both mildly admitted that "Johnson" had been badly treated by Pix & Irish, & that his plan for expert work in laying out roads, caring for the meadows & young groves etc was a good one. Said that they would have no objection to the appointment of Olmsted as landscaper gardener if money to pay him were appropriated etc etc. They also told me that the valley was not any longer a horse pasture or hog nursery


As I have urged over & over again the Yosemite Reservation ought to include all the Yosemite fountains. They all liek in a compact mass of mountains that are glorious scenery, easily accessible from the Grand Yosemite centre & are not valuable for any other use than the use of beauty. No other interests would suffer by this extension of the boundary. Only the summit peaks along the axis of the range are possibly gold bearing & not a single valuable mine has yet been discovered in them. Most of the basin is a mass of solid granite that will never be available for agriculture while its forests ought to be preserved. The Big Tuolumne Meadows should also be included since it forms the central camping ground for the High Sierra, adjacent to the valley. The Tuolumne Canon is so closely related to the Yosemite region it should also be included, but whether it


is or not will not matter much since it his in rugged rocky security as one of natures own reservations. As to the lower boundary it should I think be extended so far as to include the Big Tree groves below the valley thus bringing under government protection a section of the forest containing specimens of all the principal trees of the Sierra, & which if left unprotected will vanish like snow in summer. Some private claims will have to be brought but the cost will not be great.

Yours truly

John Muir

Glad to hear of your brothers success. Am at work on the Canon.

[newspaper clipping] wheat, which is not an irrigated crop.

The Vandever bill to extend the Yosemite grant is not sufficiently comprehensive. It leaves out the cascades, the sources of most of the streams which make the falls of the valley, and does not connect the valley and Big Tree grants. If it pass is should be amended in these particulars.
Alta May

A Matter of Principle.


Martinez, [Calif]

Date Original

1890 May 8


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 06, Image 0471

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

The Bancroft Library, University of California at Berkeley. 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



5 pages



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