Home Page Events

Hike Rating System

About Us Directions Links

About the Sierra Club

For ten thousand years we have been shaping the environment to satisfy our immediate needs. By clearing away forests to make pastures, we have caused the temperature to rise over large regions. By overgrazing the grasses of the hillsides, our livestock have caused erosion of the soil on which these grasses depend. By stimulating the valleys' fertile fields to produce even higher crop yields, we have depleted the soil's nutrients faster than natural processes can replace them. By irrigating our fields in semiarid regions, we have allowed salts to accumulate from the evaporating water, rendering the soil less productive than it was when we started. History has repeated itself many times, and great civilizations have fallen one after another to drought, overpopulation, famine, and plague. Yet there have been, through the centuries, individuals who have seen the course of things to come and attempted to sound a warning. In Israel more than two thousand years ago, Isaiah cried out to his people: "Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!" In ancient Greece, Plato wrote: "There are mountains in Attica which can now keep nothing but bees, but which were clothed, not so very long ago, with . . . timber suitable for roofing the very large buildings .... The annual supply of rainfall was not lost, as it is at present, through being allowed to flow over the denuded surface to the sea." And in early Rome, Tertullian observed: "All places are now accessible . . . cultivated fields have subdued forests; flocks and herds have expelled wild beasts .... Everywhere are houses, and inhabitants, and settled governments, and civilized life. What most frequently meets the view is our teeming population; our numbers are burdensome to the world . . . our wants grow more and more keen, and our complaints bitter in all mouths, whilst nature fails in affording us her usual sustenance. In every deed, pestilence and famine, and wars and earthquakes have to be regarded for nations, as means for pruning the luxuriance of the human race." Late in the nineteenth century two men resolved to preserve the Sierra Nevada sliploan, the irreplaceable range of mountains that runs two-thirds the length of California. One was John Muir, eminent naturalist and writer; the other was Robert Underwood Johnson, editor for Century magazine. Out of their resolve was born Yosemite National Park. Two years later, in 1892, Muir founded the Sierra Club, in part to protect the newly formed park from grazing interests that already wished to see it reduced by almost one half. The Club was successful in its fight to save Yosemite, and during its early years it went on to speak out for preservation in other areas as well. By focusing attention on scenic places, including the Mariposa Big Tree Grove, which President Theodore Roosevelt visited with John Muir in 1903, the Sierra Club was able to help create such national parks and monuments as Grand Canyon, Mount Rainier, Kings Canyon, Glacier, Sequoia, Olympic, Death Valley, and Rocky Mountain. The Club helped bring the National Park Service and the Forest Service into existence. It was instrumental in creating the Wilderness Preservation System and the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. It led in defending Yosemite and Grand Canyon National Parks and Dinosaur National Monument against dams. And it has led efforts to establish new parks in Alaska, to curtail over cutting in national forests, and to ensure the protection of roadless areas of our forests and deserts as congressionally designated wilderness. The Sierra Club was created, in the words of John Muir, to "do something for wildness." And it has a tradition of strong and decisive action on behalf of wilderness and the natural environment. Yet no organism can exist independent of the physical and social milieu in which it resides. Over the years, the Club has continued to evolve in an environment that has shaped it and that it has helped to shape. The interdependency of all things is demonstrated to us daily through scientific discoveries and the increased sharing of information that mass communications have made possible. Part of this message is that we live on a planet with finite resources; those we waste today, we shall pay for tomorrow. Energy policy, pollution control, growth, land use, and resource management are now the Club's major areas of concern. More narrowly defined, the issues include wilderness preservation, air and water quality protection, offshore and onshore oil and gas leasing, mining reform, radioactive waste management, and forest management. The solutions to the problem of dwindling resources seem clear: conservation of the Earth's vanishing resources and preservation of those scenic, fragile, and unique facets of our planet that give life its meaning and that differentiate Earth from all other planets. We invite you to join us in our efforts to protect wilderness. The Sierra Club is the largest and most diverse grassroots organization in the world. Our programs offer something for everyone-from our famous outings program to conservation activism to our prize-winning publishing program. Your dues will entitle you to receive our bimonthly magazine, Sierra, the best in its field, and to receive a discount on Sierra Club books and calendars as well as on merchandise. In addition, you will automatically become part of your local Chapter's activities; you will receive its newsletter and be invited to join Club conservation committees and local outings. But most important, your dues will help to support this nation's most effective conservation lobby. You will join more than 550,000 members who are investing their time and energy protect our natural heritage for this and future generations.