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John Muir (1838-1914), founder of the Sierra Club, was one of the most famous and influential environmental conservationists of all time. From 1879 to 1880 Muir traveled the waters of southeastern Alaska in a Tlingit Indian dugout canoe and reported his encounters in a series of letters published in the "San Francisco Daily Evening Bulletin". Collected here are Muir's original letters, bearing the immediacy and candor of his best work and providing a rare account of southeastern Alaskan history alongside breathtaking observations of glaciers and the untamed landscape. Through Muir we encounter gold miners, Taku Inlet, Glacier Bay, profiles of Tlingit Indians, and the infancy of the tourist industry. This collection of work by one of America's foremost naturalists provides a magnificent look into early conservationist thought and one individual's encounter with nature.
Robert Engberg has studied Muir's life for some thirty years. He is coeditor of John Muir to Yosemite and Beyond and John Muir Summering in the Sierra. Bruce Merrell is Alaska bibliographer for the Anchorage Municipal Libraries and president of the Alaska Historical Society.