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The Sierra Club - Protecting Nature - America’s premier grassroots environmental organization Barry Wulff, Ph. D. Vice President, International Affairs The stimulus for founding the Sierra Club

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the sierra club protecting nature america s premier grassroots environmental organization

The Sierra Club - Protecting Nature -America’s premier grassroots environmental organization

Barry Wulff, Ph. D.

Vice President, International Affairs


The stimulus for founding the Sierra Club

The battle to save the Yosemite valley and federal legislation making it a National Park in 1890, all due to the lobbying efforts of John Muir and Robert Underwood Johnson.

the original purposes of the sierra club founded in 1892
The Original Purposes of the Sierra Club (founded in 1892)
  • To explore, enjoy, and render accessible the mountain regions of the American Pacific Coast;
  • to publish authentic information about their beauty and biodiversity;
  • to enlist the support and cooperation of the people and the government in preserving the forests and other natural features of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
sierra club timeline the early years
Sierra Club Timeline - the early years
  • 1892: Our first conservation effort was to defeat a proposed reduction in the boundaries of Yosemite National Park.
  • 1899: Worked with Congress to establish Mt. Rainier National Park by legislation based on a statement prepared by the Sierra Club and other organizations.
  • 1907: Sierra Club submits resolution to Secretary of the Interior opposing the damming of Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite.
citizen action at work
Citizen Action at Work

John Muir wrote:

  • "We held a Sierra Club meeting last Saturday--passed resolutions and fanned each other to a fierce white Hetch Hetchy heat.
  • "I particularly urged that we must get everybody to write to senators and the president keeping letters flying all next month thick as storm snow flakes, loaded with park pictures, short circulars, etc. Stir up all other park and playground clubs, women's clubs, etc. .. "
hetch hetchy a lost campaign
Hetch Hetchy: A Lost Campaign
  • We lost the battle.
  • Congress approved the dam in 1913, and Muir died in 1914.
  • Some say he died from a broken heart at the loss.

An “outings” program was developed.

  • While battles over preservation of the valleys took place, a campaign to take people to the mountains began.
  • Why? To instill within the public an appreciation for the beauty and value of the natural world.
outings to explore and enjoy
Outings: To Explore and Enjoy

“...If properly conducted [the outing] will do an infinite amount of good toward awakening the proper kind of interest in the forests and other natural features of our mountains, and will also tend to create a spirit of good fellowship among our members.”Will Colby

The 1905 Climb of Mt. Rainier

sierra club timeline the middle years
Sierra Club Timeline - The middle years
  • 1920: We successfully opposed dams proposed for Yellowstone National Park.
  • 1940: With the help ofAnsel Adams, who became a famous American landscape photographer, armed with photographs, our efforts led to the establishment of Kings Canyon National Park.
  • 1964: U.S. Congress passes Wilderness Act, first wilderness protection in the world, after years of battle.
  • 1968: Sierra Club succeeds in a campaign to stop the damming of the Grand Canyon.
  • Redwood National Park established after long fight.
sierra club timeline recent years
Sierra Club Timeline - recent years
  • 1975: Sierra Club wins long-sought additions to Grand Canyon National Park.
  • 1978: Sierra Club wins a 48,000 acre addition to Redwood National Park, protecting the watershed of the world's tallest trees.
  • 1980: Congress passes Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, designating more than 103 million acres of parks, wildlife refuges, and wilderness areas.
sierra club timeline recent successes
Sierra Club Timeline - recent successes
  • 1986: Sierra Club wins designation of 270,000 acre Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area in Oregon and Washington states.
  • 1989: Sierra Club presses World Bank to withdraw $500 million loan to Brazil, which kills plans to build 147 dams and flood large areas of Amazon.
  • 1994:California Desert Protection Act signed into law, after an 8-year effort led by the Club.
  • 1996: Club's Utah Wilderness campaign helps pressurePresident Clinton to create Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, thereby protecting 1.7 million acres in Utah.
the sierra club purposes today
The Sierra Club Purposes Today
  • To explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth;
  • to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources;
  • to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and
  • to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.
how we do it
How we do it:

The Sierra Club has over 200 staff and 5,000 volunteers working in every state and in Canada.

Our tools include:

  • public education,
  • lobbying to influence elected and appointed officials,
  • litigation of government agencies and private companies,
  • books and other publications, and
  • participating in elections by endorsing candidates with strong environmental records.
current sierra club priorities
Stop sprawl: end runaway growth,

Protect America's wildlands,

End commercial logging on public lands,

Protect water from factory farms.

Energy and global warming,

Human Rights and the environment,

Population stabilization,

Responsible trade; also

Ending the toxic threat.

Current Sierra Club Priorities:
arctic national wildlife refuge america s national treasure in peril
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge America's National Treasure in Peril
  • A current campaign is to save the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from being drilled for oil.
  • Why?
  • Threatens the integrity of the entire Alaskan tundra ecosystem.
  • Threatens the local caribou herds.
  • Defeats the goal of energy conservation.
organization of the sierra club
Organization of the Sierra Club
  • National offices in San Francisco & Washington, DC
  • State and provincial chapters across North America.
  • Local groups throughout many communities.

Today, we offer more than 350 trips each year to unique destinations around the world for people of all ages.


Raising funds and membership

through calendar sales


Communicating with our members with brochures, cards, newsletters and automobile bumper stickers

national volunteer committees presently 110 committees some examples
National Volunteer CommitteesPresently 110 committeesSome examples:
  • Global Warming & Clean Energy Program
  • Marine Wildlife & Habitat
  • Genetic Engineering
  • National Parks & Monuments
  • Group & Chapter Outings
  • Radiation
  • Toxins
  • International
the international committee
The International Committee

Mission: To protect and restore the global environment through three main grassroots-based thrusts:

  • Empower communities and individuals globally
  • Reduce the global environmental impact of US-based activities
  • Promote environmental perspectives and protection in international agreements and actions


The Sierra Club

85 Second Street, 2nd Floor

San Francisco, California 94105

Tel: 415-977-5500

FAX: 415-977-5799

A healthy environment will support a healthy economy.

wild forests campaign
Wild Forests Campaign

As Americans, we treasure our National Forest heritage. But over half of our National Forests have already been scarred by logging, roadbuilding, mining, and oil and gas drilling. This year, we have an historic opportunity to protect 60 million acres of the last unspoiled wildlands in our National Forests. Your help is needed!

  • Take Action to Protect Our Wild Forests:
    • Send an e-mail to President Clinton and Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman.
  • How to Get Involved:
    • Tool kit for Wild Forest activists and organizers.
  • Off-Road Vehicles:
    • Damaging America's Threatened Wilderness
  • One Million Comments Delivered:
    • An estimated one million comments in favor of increasing protection for wild forests were delivered to the Forest Service by the July 17th deadline!