Coulterville, CA – March 31, 2014 “Going Muir’s Way” travel for visitors to Yosemite National Park is gaining notable supporters and renewed calls to name “John Muir Highway” to honor Muir’s legacy in 2014, the 100th Anniversary of his death. Muir scholars and guests from the University of the Pacific’s Muir Symposium field trip (3/21/14) now are sharing their praise of following firsthand the route of Muir’s1868 walk to Yosemite.
The John Muir Geotourism Center ( JMGC – Coulterville, CA) hosted the guided itinerary bus tour on CA State Route 132 using Muir’s journals entries from “My First Summer in the Sierra” and referencing still visible natural and cultural heritage landmarks (Muir Ramble Route). As a geotourism* themed approach designed to enrich both the tourist experience of going to Yosemite National Park and aid in the preservation of places Muir saw and wrote about, visitors voiced their enjoyment in comments like the ones here-
“I’m just back from a rock-climb above Muir’s cabin site in Yosemite Valley and was thinking about how important and rather moving it was for me to appreciate Muir’s approach to the Valley from your inspirational tour, the first time I saw the potential of geotourism to bring people closer to Muir’s values and valuing of the Sierras.
( Terry Gifford Ph.D., acclaimed author and editor of John Muir: His Life and Letters and Other Writings)
“Thanks again for your help and support of the Muir Symposium. It made a huge difference in the success of the field trip and the symposium itself at Pacific”. (William Swagerty, Ph.D., John Muir Center Director, University of the Pacific.)
“What a wonderful experience to hear Ken’s description of Coulterville, and John Muir. It was a humbling experience to be on that bus and be at the UOP symposium. I will never forget it. We want to return to Coulterville, May 30, and 31st.” Ken Stanley, tour guest from Sierra Canyon, Reno)
This John Muir Highway tour included stops to view cultural heritage exhibits the Northern Mariposa County History Center, lunch and “ghost stories” about the Historic Hotel Jeffery where President Theodore Roosevelt stayed on his Yosemite visit and a walk through the JMGC location in the old Gazzolo Hardware Store (1853). After viewing collections including rare first edition Muir books and publications, guests took a stroll through the preserved Gold Rush mining town of Coulterville before resuming their Muir inspired travel along the Historic John Muir Route.
In keeping with the Symposium theme of “John Muir’s Legacy: What’s been saved and what’s been lost,” the status of rarely seen
Muir favorite locations in the Stanislaus National Forest such as Bowers Cave and Muir’s “altar rock” were reported. The next stop at the Rim of the World view point displayed what has been lost with a panoramic view of the damage done by last year’ Rim Fire devastation. The group then traveled through the historic main street of Groveland before returning to Stockton, CA, and the University of the Pacific.
* National Geographic Society site offers the following -“Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place—its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.”