Muir loved the wilderness in North America, which contrasted with the rocky, bare coast of his native Dunbar, Scotland. He helped found the conservation movement in the United States and cofounded the Sierra Club, originally dedicated to the protection of Yosemite National Park and later to the preservation of wilderness in the United States.
In The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913), John Muir wrote that he felt no regret when his father moved the family in 1849 from Scotland to America, as he immediately fell in love with the North American wilderness. Initially headed for Canada, the Muir family settled in southeastern Wisconsin. In 1880, Muir married Louisa Wanda Strentzel, the daughter of a Polish immigrant father and an American-born mother.
Muir explored and lived for a while in the Sierra Nevadas in California. He made several expeditions to Alaska and wrote numerous articles and books about his travels. He had a particular affinity for the Yosemite region in east central California. Indeed, Muir was largely responsible for the establishment of Yosemite as a national park in 1890, and through his efforts other national parks were set up. Considered the “father of the national parks,” Muir also cofounded the environmental organization
Cohen, Michael P. The Pathless Way: John Muir and American Wilderness. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984. Miller, Sally M., and Daryl Morrison, eds. John Muir: Family, Friends, and Adventures. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005. Turner, Frederick. Rediscovering America: John Muir in His Time and Ours. New York: Viking Press, 1985.
Canada vs. United States as immigrant destinations