John Muir on the need for National Forests   David Yarrow
  February 17, 2003 9:24 PM

Subject: John Muir on the need for National Forests

The outcries we hear against forest reservations come mostly from thieves who are wealthy and steal timber by wholesale. They have so long been allowed to steal and destroy in peace that any impediment to forest robbery is denounced as cruel and irreligious interference with 'vested rights,' likely to endanger the repose of all ungodly welfare. Any fool can destroy trees. They cannot run away; and if they could, they would be hunted down as long as fun or a dollar could be got out of their bark hides, branching horns, or magnificent bole backbones. Few that fell trees plant them; nor would planting avail much towards getting back anything like the noble primeval forests. During a man's life only saplings can be grown, in the place of old trees" tens of centuries old" that have been destroyed. It took more than three thousand years to make some of the trees that are still standing in perfect strength and beauty, waving and singing in the mighty forests of the Sierras. Through all the wonderful, eventful centuries since Christ's time and long before that God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand straining tempests and floods; but He cannot save them from fools”only Uncle Sam can do that.

John Muir, 1897

naturalist, writer, founder of the National Park System