History Behind the Parks: Muir Woods National Monument

Photo Courtesy of National Park Service

By Carla Charter

Muir Woods National Monument, part of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, is a forest sanctuary created by the Redwoods that populate the park.

The park was created in January 9, 1908 through a proclamation by President Theodore Roosevelt. Muir Woods was the Seventh National Monument and the first created by land donated by private individuals, the Kents, who named it Muir Woods to honor the conservationist. “Muir did visit the land there once or twice. He actually lived in Martinez which is an hour and a half away from the Muir Woods,”  according to Muir Woods ranger Lucy Scott

The newly formed United Nations met at Muir Woods on May 19 1945, for a memorial service shortly after Franklin Delano Roosevelt passed away on April 12 of that year. This event also showcased Muir Woods to delegates from other countries to show them what could be done by protecting natural resources.

Among the highlights of Muir Woods is Cathedral Grove.  “It is called Cathedral Grove because it evokes the same feeling as when you are in a cathedral. The Redwoods tall spirit here evokes a sense of peace in people. We ask that people be extra quiet while walking through Cathedral Grove.  Muir Woods itself is a quiet zone meaning we recognize quiet as a natural resource,” continued Scott

Muir Woods tallest Redwood is 260 feet tall.  “Redwood trees store more Carbon Dioxide than any other in the world.  There are fewer birds in the Redwood forest because the trees contain a lot of Tannin which many insects do not like, thus with fewer insects there are fewer birds.,” she continued.

“Muir Woods park is 500 acres which is relatively small for a National Park but it is surrounded by state and county water district lands. with 60 miles of trails connected throughout the park.” Scott said. There is camping at nearby state parks, walking and hiking trails, and it is handicapped accessible.   “The park gives people a place to walk, hike and spend time with their family and learn about the environment, to teach people about the park to appreciate it and become a good steward of it,” she said. More information on John Muir national Monument can be found at https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm