John Muir, Naturalist and Writer, 1914, and
Hudson Stuck, Priest and Environmentalist, 1920
In 1868, Muir arrived in Yosemite Valley, California, which he called “the grandest of all the special temples of nature.” During a hiking trip through the Sierras, Muir developed theories about the development and ecosystem of the areas. Some years later, Muir took up the cause of preservation, eventually co-founding the Sierra Club, an association of environmental preservationists.
Muir, an ardent believer in the national parks as “places of rest, inspiration, and prayers,” adamantly opposed the free exploitation of natural resources for commercial use. This position put him at odds with conservationists who saw natural forests as sources of timber and who wanted to conserve them for that reason.
Muir was influential in convincing President Theodore Roosevelt that federal management and control were necessary to ensure the preservation of the national forests. Today, he is revered as an
inspiration for preservationists and his life’s work stands as a powerful testament to the majesty and beauty of God’s creation.
With a group of fellow explorers, Stuck was the first to completely ascend Denali (Mt. McKinley). He later wrote of the experience as a “privileged communion” to be received in awe and wonder. Upon reaching the pinnacle of Denali, Stuck led the climbers in prayer and thanksgiving.
Archdeacon Stuck died in 1920.
Source: A Great Cloud of Witnesses, 2016