A History of Early Educational Connections among the University of California, Sierra Club, and the National Park Service

University of California faculty, alumni and students were key founders of the Sierra Club in 1892, and UC alumni played a central role in establishing the National Park Service in 1916. A shared philosophy bound these founders together in the interest of conservation. That was, by educating the public about America’s natural wonders, a base of advocates for their preservation would be created. By the 1920’s, the University of California took on formal roles with the Sierra Club and National Park Service in pioneering in Yosemite National Park a suite of public education activities, including evening lectures, guided walks, publications, and a museum.

A book-length publication is planned to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. An article based on research for the book, “The Le Conte Memorial Lectures and Park Interpretation - a Historical Account,” appeared in the George Wright Forum, vol. 27, #3 (2010). The article can be found on-line at http://www.georgewright.org/273merritt.pdf. A second article on UC engineering professor and second president of the Sierra Club Joseph N. Le Conte is in preparation.