Muir Woods to Celebrate 100 Years as National Monument

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"This is the best tree-lover's monument that could possibly be found in all the forests of the world." -- John Muir, conservationist

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This ancient forest now stands as a cherished part of the Golden Gate National Parks, a place of reflection for visitors, a haven for endangered species, and a living and enduring symbol of the conservation ethic.

Muir Woods National Monument, one of the last -- and most beloved -- stands of old-growth coast redwoods in the world, will celebrate its 100th anniversary as a National Monument on January 9, 2008. The National Park Service and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy are proud to be organizing a year-long commemoration of Muir Woods' Centennial Year.

A national park site protecting the tallest tree species on Earth, Muir Woods attracts about 1 million people every year, inspiring them with redwoods over 260 feet high and more than 1,200 years old. The media and general public are cordially invited to honor these primeval giants by attending Centennial festivities, guided hikes, volunteer opportunities and other special events.

To protect a stand of ancient redwoods in Redwood Canyon, businessman (and later Congressman) William Kent and his wife Elizabeth Thacher Kent donated 298 acres to the federal government. On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the woods America's 10th National Monument. Following Kent's wishes, it was named for John Muir -- the renowned conservationist who founded the Sierra Club.

"Muir Woods' establishment in 1908 was a truly remarkable moment in the natural and social history of the United States," said Brian O'Neill, general superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. "This ancient forest now stands as a cherished part of the Golden Gate National Parks, a place of reflection for visitors, a haven for endangered species, and a living and enduring symbol of the conservation ethic."

Kent's singular act -- a donation by a private individual to preserve lands for greater public benefit -- has shown the way for 100 years of environmental and conservation work around the Bay. Indeed, Muir Woods and the Kent gift are regarded as inspirations for the citizen-led creation of the Golden Gate National Parks -- a spectacular 75,000-acre greenbelt north and south of the Golden Gate that includes the Marin Headlands, Alcatraz, the Presidio and other sites.

"Kent's gift not only saved a stand of endangered trees but also crystallized an idea central to our current conservation efforts -- that private philanthropy can lead and inspire the most extraordinary acts of environmental good," said Greg Moore, executive director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

For full 10-piece media kit, please visit http://www.parksconservancy.org/about/press/release.asp?release=1618
or contact David Shaw at (415) 561-3064 or dshaw@parksconservancy.org.

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
The National Park Service (NPS) is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior charged with managing the preservation and public use of America's most significant natural, scenic, historic, and cultural treasures. The NPS manages the Golden Gate National Parks, as well as 390 other park sites across the U.S. For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/goga or call (415) 561-4700.

GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL PARKS CONSERVANCY
The Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. The Conservancy is an authorized "cooperating association" of the NPS, and is one of more than 70 such nonprofit organizations working with national parks around the country. To learn more, please visit http://www.parksconservancy.org or call (415) 561-3000.

MEDIA CONTACTS
David Shaw
Director of Communications
Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
(415) 561-3064
dshaw@parksconservancy.org

Ozola Cody
Office of Public Affairs
National Park Service
(415) 561-4734
ozola_cody@nps.gov

Image Copyright 2007 stephenjosephphoto.com

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David Shaw

Ozola Cody
National Park Service
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