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01a - Muir Woods - Entrance (E) | by Kansas Sebastian
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01a - Muir Woods - Entrance (E)

Muir Woods National Monument, Established January 9, 1908



One hundred fifty million years ago ancestors of redwood and sequoia trees grew throughout the United States. Today, the Sequoia sempervirens can be found only in a narrow, cool coastal belt from Monterey to Oregon.


Before the logging industry came to California, there were an estimated 2 million acres (8,000 km²) of old growth forest containing redwoods growing in a narrow strip along the coast.


By the early 20th century, most of these forests had been cut down. Just north of the San Francisco Bay, one valley named Sequoia Canyon remained uncut, mainly due to its relative inaccessibility.


This was noticed by U.S. Congressman William Kent. He and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent purchased 611 acres (2.47 km²) of land from the Tamalpais Land and Water Company for $45,000 with the goal of protecting the redwoods and the mountain above them.


In 1907, a water company in nearby Sausalito planned to dam Redwood Creek, thereby flooding the valley. When Kent objected to the plan, the water company took him to court to attempt to force the project to move ahead. Kent sidestepped the water company's plot by donating 295 acres (1.2 km²) of the redwood forest to the Federal Government, thus bypassing the local courts.


On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a national monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual. The original suggested name of the Monument was the Kent monument but Kent insisted the Monument be named after naturalist John Muir, whose environmental campaigns helped to establish the national park system.



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Taken on December 30, 2006