Sierra Club History

We are America's largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization. Inspired by nature, we are 2.7 million of your friends and neighbors, working together to protect our communities and the planet.

First Executive Director Hired

David Brower becomes the Sierra Club’s first executive director.

Mt Rainier National Park

Congress establishes Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington State in response to efforts of the Sierra Club and other groups.

Sierra Club Founded

John Muir and others found the Sierra Club.

The High Trip - The Club's First Outing

In the Sierra Club’s first outing, William Colby leads 96 participants on a multi-week trip to Yosemite Valley and Tuolumne Meadows. Understanding that people are more likely to value what they know and experience, the Sierra Club initiates an annual High Trip to take groups of people into the mountains to hike, climb, and camp. These popular trips convert city-weary folks into lovers of, and protectors of, mountains and wilderness. They are the beginning of the Sierra Club's expanded and continuing Outings Program, which today exposes over 200,000 people a year to natural landscapes all over the world.

John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt

Sierra Club founder John Muir convinces President Theodore Roosevelt to back a proposal to transfer management of Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove from the state of California back to the federal government, thereby making Yosemite National Park whole. The bill making it official passes in 1906.

The First Sierra Club Bulletin

The Sierra Club's original journal evolved over the years into the award-winning SIERRA magazine of today.

National Park Service

John Muir had long advocated the creation of a bureau to oversee and protect the national parks. After Muir's death in 1914, the Sierra Club continued to advocate for its establishment. On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signs an act creating the National Park Service, a new federal bureau in the Department of the Interior responsible for protecting the 35 national parks and monuments then managed by the department and those yet to be established. The first director, Stephen Mather, is a Sierra Club member.

Clean Air Act Protected

The Sierra Club helps block efforts to weaken the Clean Air Act.


The Sierra Club supports the Save-the-Redwoods League and protests threats to redwoods, which ultimately leads to the establishment of a network of state parks to protect coastal redwoods.

Dams in Yellowstone

The Sierra Club successfully opposes a proposal for major dams in Yellowstone National Park.

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