John Muir


[John Muir]


[James R. Garfield]


[letterhead][Ca Jan. 1908]The Honorable Secretary of the InteriorSir:The Sierra Club begs to submit the following suggestion as to road building & other needed improvements in Yosemite National Park.-1- That a general plan for the treatment of the floor of Yosemite Valley be made by a competent landscape artist & carried out under his [supervision?] at a cost of about one hundred & fifty thousand [dollars?] This would include the thinning & clearing of undergrowth jungles; the building of a permanent system of roads located with reference to scenery aesthetic effects etc, [instead?] of the present haphazard dust sand & mud [ruts?] called roads; & the restoration of the downtrodden herbaceous vegetation to something like the beauty of wildness, etc 22. That a road be built into Hetch Hetchy Valley connecting with the present wagon road which now terminates at a distance of about nine miles from the lower end of the Valley. Government engineers have estimated that the cost of such a road would be about Fifteen Thousand ($15,000) Dollars. Next to Yosemite itself, Hetch Hetchy is the greatest attraction in the Park, & will be visited by countless thousands when once made easily accesible.3. That all private holdings within the Park be extinguished by purchase or condemnation. Perhaps the most important of these is the old Tioga Road which follows up the main dividing ridge between the Tuolumne & Merced rivers into the Tuolumne Meadows, thus -3-opening the central part of the Park to tourist travel. It was built by a mining company but has long been out of repair. It could probably be purchased & put in good condition for much less than the original cost.4. That a trail be built from Yosemite Valley leading directly up the canyon of the Merced River to its headwaters, thence into the Tuolumne Meadows and down the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne to the Hetch Hetchy Valley. The cost would be considerable but it would be justified over & over again by bringing to view the most sublime & beautiful canyon scenery of the Sierra or the world. -4-5. A trail built directly up the Tenaya Canyon from Yosemite Valley to Lake Tenaya would enable travellers to reach the Eastern portion of the Park much more directly and earlier in the year. While a great deal of blasting will be required, this trail could probably be built for fifteen thousand ($15,000) Dollars.It will require an appropriation of at least two hundred and fifty thousand ($250,000) Dollars to effect the improvements suggested, and we respectfully urge that such an appropriation be madeRespectfully submitted,PresidentWm E Colby SecretaryJoseph N. LeConte TreasurerWm F. BadeE. T. ParsonsCommittee of Board of Directors of the Sierra Club on Welfare and Improvement of the Yosemite National Park.


[Martinez, Calif.]


Original letter dimensions unknown.

Resource Identifier


File Identifier

Reel 17, Image 0130

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

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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


4 pages



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