Yosemite’s Half Dome from Glacier Point . Photo courtesy of Todd Koji
"No temple made with human hands can compare with Yosemite," wrote John Muir, who’s ardent support and life long devotion to Yosemite Valley led to the creation of the National Park. It's worth noting that Muir’s quest to save Yosemite from threats like overgrazing, clear-cutting and poaching wasn’t without struggle.
Muir, with the help of friends like Ralph Waldo Emerson, spent years courting politicians and anyone who would listen in an attempt convince the U.S. Government and public that Yosemite Valley should be conserved. He wanted to see the valley conserved just as the famed Mariposa Grove and the some of the upper plateau were protected within the National Park by means of the Yosemite Act of 1864.
It wasn’t until the fateful spring of 1903, when John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt spent three days camping out at Glacier Point, during which Muir convinced Roosevelt to set aside Yosemite Valley and protect it within the greater Yosemite National Park. Rumor has it that President Roosevelt’s secret service were not too excited about the idea of John Muir and the president camping in solitude, as they chatted about the future of Yosemite by campfire.
Just about a month later, on June 11, 1906, President Roosevelt signed a bill, which transferred their campfire conversation into law. Today, we have 747,956 acres of wilderness to explore, thanks in large part to two men, and three nights around a campfire perched high atop the valley floor at Glacier Point.