What is the Muir Woods all about?
Quoting John Muir,
“This is the best tree-lover’s monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world.”
Muir Woods National Monument embraces 559 acres of land with huge redwood trees. Nearly one million people from all over the world come here to pay homage to this forest. Some of the trees are a thousand years old, in the Muir Woods, the oldest one is actually 1200 years old and the tallest one is about as high as a 35 storied building (379.1 ft= 115.5 meters)
Historical perspective of the Muir Woods:
President Theodore Roosevelt used the powers of the Antiquities Act on January 9, 1908 to create the Muir Wood National Monument.
William Kent, philanthropist, businessman donated 245 acres of land to the Federal Government to restore these giant treasures.
Roosevelt suggested naming the area after Kent, but William Kent, in his letter to the president (Jan.30,1908) declines politely- “I have five good husky boys that I am trying to bring up to a knowledge of democracy… if these boys cannot keep the names of Kent alive, I am willing it should be forgotten”. And named it after the great conservationist, John Muir. That is how this forest got its name Muir Woods.
What to see in Muir Woods:
Under a misty, shady canopy you may find layers of shade loving plants like ferns and hostas, a beam of sunlight peeking through the dewy leaves of trees. Tse-tse sound of various unknown insects and lots of lots of lady bugs.
Do you know that every year the Convergent Lady bugs migrate here in the Muir Woods all the way from the California Central Valley seeking cool refuge of the redwood forest? And, the banana slugs here, in the Muir Woods, are the largest mollusk in the whole North America. These gastropods (meaning footed stomach!) crunch up debris decomposing dead materials constantly.
In that calm serene drama of the Muir Woods, the majestic redwood giants will surely dominate your attention. You’ll be awestruck to fathom the fact that these living creatures have witnessed a thousand years of history in silence and have stored all those stories in each of their rings, every circle denoting an individual year!
All on a sudden, the shrill cry of a stellar jay may steal the show. With a faint smile you’ll recollect :
“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe” (John Muir- My First Summer in the Sierra, pg 326)
Things to know in Muir Woods:
Muir Woods contains 6 miles of trails. There are half hour, one hour and one and a half hour loops as well as longer ones. Pets, bikes, horse riding, camping, or smoking is not permitted in the Muir Woods Park. Food is only allowed in the plaza and café deck.
$5- Over 15 years of age.
$20 annual pass will cover a car full of passengers in a private vehicle and cover Muir Woods and all of the Muir National Monument including Stinson Beach and John Muir National Site in Martinez CA.
Things to do In the Muir Woods:
Other than hiking do you know that you can also volunteer here in the Muir Woods? There in an ongoing program- picking up debris to clean up the beach shores in order to prevent pollution in the sea and help the endangered species to survive.
This happens every second Saturday of certain months. Please call 415-561-4751 for more information( or call their web site given in the Reference section). There are many interesting and rewarding volunteering opportunities available.
Do you know that a burl is a mass of dormant bud grown on the redwood’s trunk? In the event of a fire or flood, the burl vigorously sprout shots each with the potential to become a mature tree?
You will have a great time exploring the redwoods in the Muir Woods in California; it is so very close to San Francisco. Don’t you miss it.