R. B. Marshall
Sacramento, Cal., Jan.27, 1905.
Mr. John Muir,
My rear Mr. Muir;
I am just in receipt of a letter from Major H. M. Chittenden and Mr. Frank Bond, members of the Commission to investigate "Conditions and Situations" in the Yosemite National Park, last summer. They inform me that there is a strong Lobby, in Washington, trying to get privileges for a steam or electric railroad into Yosemite National Park. As you probably remember our Commission changed the boundary lines of the boundary in its recommendation and had in mind the idea, by suggesting, that the name of the Park be changed to the Yosemite National Park, rather than Yosemite Forest Reserve, with the idea that it would be set aside as a National Park, which it was hoped would carry the impression that there should be no railroads of any description within the boundaries. The conditions in the Yellowstone suggested this interpretation by our Commission. Our present boundaries of the Yosemite National Park were so arranged that a railroad and wagon road were recommended up the Merced Canyon to within six miles of the State Grant. This is as far as any railroad should be allowed to go, and if once the Government allows any corporation
2. J. M.
to get into a National Park it would only be a short time before electric and steam cars would be running all over the Yosemite and Yellowstone National Parks.
I feel that this is a matter of serious moment to the preservation of our National Parks and I write you this letter to ask you if you will not use your influence to help defend the National Parks from encrouchment, by the granting of such privileges. Will you not write or wire the president in the matter, also any member of Congress from California, or elsewhere, that you think would have any influence in granting or stoping the granting of such privileges?
Make the language as strong as possible, and it should be immediately. I appeal to you in this matter as I recognize that there is no one in the United States more interested in the preservation of there National Parks than yourself. There is but little that I can do in opposing the scheme of the Railroads, save calling the attention of my friends and asking them to use their utmost influence to prevent it.
Mrs. Marshall and I were sorry that you did not come to our house as you had promised, whenever you were in Sacramento. We will forgive you this time, but not in the future.
An electric car spinning thru the groves & around the margins of the meadows & big [illegible] slopes would [illegible] & cheap enabling the quick-going tourist to do the Valley cheaper & faster than ever & hurting or confusing the scenery hardly more than the present stages & saddle trains But once begun this sort of transportation would not end before the whole park was [illegible] & made like a common city [truck?] or railroad yard.
[in margin: Marshall on Yo RRs etc]
1905 Jan 27
Original letter dimensions: 27 x 20 cm.
Marshall, R. B., "Letter from R. B. Marshall to John Muir, 1905 Jan 27." (1905). John Muir Correspondence (PDFs). 3218.
Reel 15, Image 0127
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