By the Numbers: John Muir National Historic Site

The Muir Home. NPS photo.

John Muir, co-founder of the Sierra Club and "patron saint" of the national parks, died on Christmas Eve, 1914. Here are some numbers that tell the story of this remarkable man and the national park in Martinez, California, that was created to preserve and interpret the place he called home for the last 24 years of his life.

34,516

Recreational visits to John Muir National Historic Site in 2009. This is the park's highest annual visitation since 1988, and not far below the peak visitation of 38,051 (in1986).

10,010

Square footage of the Muir Home, including porches, attic, and basement. Constructed in 1883 by Muir's father-in-law, Dr. John Strentzel, the 17-room Victorian mansion is now the park's centerpiece attraction.

2,600

Acreage of the Alhambra Valley fruit ranch where John Muir lived the last 24 years of his life. Muir, who managed the farm for 10 years as operating partner, moved to the farm in 1890 with his wife Louisa "Louie" Strentzel and their two daughters. John Muir National Historic Site was created on August 31, 1964, from remnants of this farm.

335

Acreage of the park, all but 8.74 acres of which is federally-owned.

326

Acreage of the Mount Wanda Nature Preserve, which was added to the park in 1993. Named for Muir's oldest daughter, Mount Wanda was part of the original ranch. The easy uphill saunter to the summit (elev. 660 feet) affords great views of attractions like Mt. Diablo and Briones Park. In season, rangers lead Mt. Wanda wildflower, birding, and full moon walks.

35

Maximum number of people accommodated on each 30-minute guided tour of the Muir Home offered to the general public at scheduled times. Larger groups are accommodated by reservation only. Self-guided tours are also available at the Muir Home and orchards as well as the Martinez Adobe, another historic property administered by the park.

32 miles

Distance from downtown San Francisco. Travel time is around 40 minutes in light traffic.

12

Books written by John Muir, who also wrote more than 300 magazine and newspaper articles. Muir's writings, which contributed importantly to the establishment of the National Park Service and the modern environmental movement, reflected his deep love for adventure, nature, wilderness, and the interconnectivity of it all. Muir had been working on a book about his travels in Alaska not long before he died of pneumonia at age 76. He had also made plans (and accumulated enough notes) for at least ten more books.

nearly 9

Acreage of fruit orchards surrounding the Muir Home. It's all that remains from a fruit producing operation that once encompassed several square miles.

5+

National parks created through campaigns in which John Muir's personal involvement proved very influential. Some historians have concluded that efforts to create Yosemite National Park might very well have failed if John Muir hadn't championed the cause and rallied vital support. Muir is also credited with garnering key support for the creation of Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Mt. Rainier National Parks.

4

Bee hives kept at John Muir National Historic Site. The bees are needed to pollinate the fruit and nut trees in the orchards.

3 dollars

Admission fee for adults 16 years of age and older.

0

Charge for fruit that visitors consume. As fruit becomes available in the summer and fall, staff and park VIPs pick it and place it in wooden boxes around the park. Visitors are welcome to sample it free of charge.

Comments

I served jury duty in Martinez once for five weeks and would drive by John Muir NHS each day. I wasn't sure what it was, since it was in a currently nondescript location next to California Highway 4. I've since visited a couple of times. The Mt Wanda walks can be pretty nice, but the parking lot (a park and ride lot on weekdays) fills up quickly.