Did you know that the founder
of the modern conservation movement was born in Scotland? John Muir, who spent
his childhood in Dunbar, East Lothian, is also hailed as the father of national
parks and anyone who loves the many preserved wild places across the world has
him to thank in part.
Now Muir, who spent most of
his life in America, is to be recognised in his birth country with a dedicated
Scottish John Muir Day. On April 21, many people in Scotland will be
celebrating the life and conservation work of John Muir at a host of events.
More about John Muir
Born on April 21, 1838, in
Dunbar, Muir emigrated with his family to Wisconsin in America when he was
11 years old. Starting his working life in
industry and showing great potential for success, he famously and suddenly
quit to walk solo across America to the Gulf of Mexico. His book, A
Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf, charts the extraordinary journey.
Between 1870 and 1890, Muir explored the High Sierra and
Alaska and it was here that he became alarmed by the threat of manmade
developments and the domestication going on in wild and natural environments.
It was Muir’s
forward-thinking ideas that first made people stop to think about how to
safeguard the world’s wilderness areas.
Muir was behind many campaigns to protect natural areas such
as Yosemite and the Sierra. In 1892 he
formed the Sierra Club to “do something for wildness and make the mountains
glad”. Muir was also a key player in the establishment of America’s Sequoia and
According to the history
books, Muir never forgot his Scottish roots and was often heard talking about
his childhood spent exploring the beautiful East Lothian coastline, where today
you’ll find the John Muir Country Park.
In the UK, our amazing national
parks, such as Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and the Cairngorms
National Park in Scotland, and Exmoor, Snowdonia, Yorkshire Dales, among many
others I England and Wales, might never have been created if it wasn’t for
On April 21, 2013, the 175th
anniversary of his birth, John Muir Day will be marked on the UK calendar. Look
out too, next April, for the launch of a new John Muir Trail walk across
Where to celebrate John Muir Day
On April 21, join a special John Muir guided walk
through Scotland's first National Nature Reserve of Beinn Eighe. The walk starts at 11am
Eighe NNR. See NNR Scotland
Mad about Muir takes place on April
21 at 2pm at Muir
of Dinnet NNR, Aberdeenshire. Join a theatre
group for a free, fun and interactive walk at the Burn o Vat. Booking
essential. Tel. 013398 81667
A guided geology walk on John Muir Day takes
place at Dunkeld heading to Schiehallion in Perthshire. See JMT
The John Muir Birthplace visitor centre in Dunbar will be
putting on activities to mark John Muir Day. See JMBT
The Isle of May can be
seen from Muir’s birthplace. And on John Muir Day there will be special activities
taking place. The island is a national nature reserve renowned for its bird
populations, seals, history and flowers. To reach the island you can catch a
boat from Anstruther in Fife (see Isle
of May Ferry) and North Berwick in East Lothian (see
John Muir Day at The Falkirk
Wheel in central Scotland takes place from 10am to 4pm with lots to do for all
the family. See Falkirk Wheel
Explore a national park.
Check out National Parks website
for parks near you and head off for a day of walking or cycling.