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Timeline of The Sierra Club

This is a timeline of The Sierra Club, an important and early environmental organization in the United States.


Big picture

Period Key trend/development
1890s–1960s During the first decades from its foundation, many of The Sierra Club’s efforts involve fighting efforts to dam rivers.[1]
1980s The Sierra Club experiences considerable growth as it garners support for opposing the policies of the often described as "anti-environmentalist" U.S. Secretary of the Interior James G. Watt, who advocates use, rather than protection, of wilderness.[2]

Visual data

Google Trends

The comparative chart below shows Google Trends data for Sierra Club (Topic), Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (Nonprofit organization), Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. (Non-profit) and Environmental Working Group (Corporation) from January 2004 to April 2021, when the screenshot was taken. Interest is also ranked by country and displayed on world map.[3]

Sierra Club, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. and Environmental Working Group gt.png

Google Ngram Viewer

The chart below shows Google Ngram Viewer data for Sierra Club, from 1892 to 2019.[4]

Sierra Club ngram.png

Wikipedia Views

The chart below shows pageviews of the English Wikipedia article Sierra Club, on desktop from December 2007, and on mobile-web, desktop-spider, mobile-web-spider and mobile app, from July 2015; to March 2021. A data gap on desktop observed from October 2014 to June 2015 is the result of Wikipedia Views failure to retrieve data.[5]

Sierra Club wv.png


Year Event type Event Geographical location
1864 Antecedent Scottish-American naturalist John Muir joins American diplomat Robert Underwood Johnson in a campaign to create a large Yosemite National Park surrounding the much smaller state park which is created the same year as a public trust.[1][6] California
1872 Foundation Yellowstone is founded as the first national park of the United States.[1] Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
1892 (May 28) Foundation The Sierra Club is founded by a San Francisco group of professors, businessmen, and other professionals led by John Muir.[7][1] San Francisco
1892 Program launch The Sierra Club’s first conservation campaign is launched, as an effort to defeat a proposed reduction of Yosemite National Park’s boundaries.[1]
1901 Program launch The Sierra Club sponsors the first annual High Trip, with at least 250 people spending a month in Yosemite, moving camp 1-2 times a week.[8] California
1904 LeConte Memorial Lodge, a current National Historic Landmark, is built by The Sierra Club in 1903 in memory of Joseph LeConte, one of the founding members of The Sierra Club".[9]
1907 A seven-year environmental struggle begins between The Sierra Club and the proposal of a reservoir in the Hetch Hetchy, a project that follows the need for additional water for growing San Francisco. However, the United States Congress would flood the valley in 1913.[1][10]
1911 Organization The first official chapter of The Sierra Club starts in Southern California.[1] Southern California
1914 John Muir dies.[11]
1915 The Sierra Club is awarded $10,000 to construct the John Muir Trail, a long-distance trail in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California, passing through Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.[11] California
1916 Endorsement The Sierra Club supports bill that would create the National Park Service.[1]
1919 Sierra Club appoints American photographer and environmentalist Ansel Adams custodian of LeConte Memorial Lodge in Yosemite, a position Adams would held until 1927.[12]
1920 Infraestructure development The Sierra Club develops a cable system that provides access for visitors without technical rock climbing ability to the summit of Half Dome, a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park.[13] California
1927 Conservationist Aurelia Harwood becomes the first female President of The Sierra Club.[14]
1936 Program launch The Sierra Club grading system is created to classify hikes and climbs in the Sierra Nevada. The system divides climbs into six classes, class 1 being easy and class 6, severe. This classification would be modified in 1938.[15]
1937 Program launch The Sierra Club develops Sierra Club Ski-Mountaineering Test as a standard for ski tour leaders and advanced participants.[16]
1948 Endorsement Sierra Club backs a plan for a ski resort at Mineral King, a subalpine glacial valley located in the southern part of Sequoia National Park. However, the project would be abandoned due to inadequate roads.[17]
1951 The Sierra Club oposes federal government’s interest in damming Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado and Utah.[1]
1952 As rock climbing becomes more popular, the 1938 Sierra Club classification system is modified further into the Yosemite Decimal System.[15]
1960 Organization The The Sierra Club Foundation is established as a nonprofit, with the purpose of providing financial support to The Sierra Club and other environmental organizations for tax deductible work.[1]
1960 Organization Sierra Club Books is founded as the publishing division of Sierra Club. Along its history, Sierra Club Books would publish important books such as The Population Bomb and Fifty Classic Climbs of North America.
1964 Background The United States Congress passes the Wilderness Act, which establishes that wilderness lands have intrinsic worth and deserve to be protected in their natural state, unaltered by humans and free for everyone to experience and enjoy.[18][1]
1970 Organization Sierra Club North Carolina Chapter is established.[19] North Carolina
1971 Organization The Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund is launched as a group whose task is to handle The Sierra Club’s mounting litigation.[2]
1980–1983 Sierra Club’s membership nearly doubles to 346,000 during this period.[2]
1987 Policy LeConte Memorial Lodge, built by Sierra Club, is declared a National Historic Landmark.[9]
1991 Organization The Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) is founded as the national student chapter of Sierra Club. Washington, D.C
1992 Organization Sierra Club du/of Canada (SCC) is founded as an equivalent organization. It is developed from Canadian chapters of the United States Sierra Club. SCC would focus its national campaigns in four program areas: health and environment, protecting biodiversity, atmosphere and energy, and supporting a transition to sustainable economy.[1] Canada
1996 Environmental activist Adam Werbach becomes the youngest person ever elected as national president of The Sierra Club, at the age of 23.[20]
1999 The Sierra Club receives a multi-year grant to fund the establishment of an Environmental Justice Program and open five Environmental Justice offices across the United States.[21]
2006 The Sierra Club manages to prevent the George W. Bush Administration from allowing commercial logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument, a 328,000 acre U.S. National Monument located in the southern Sierra Nevada in eastern central California.[22] California
2008 The Sierra Club manages to block a wolf killing initiative in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.[22] Idaho, Montana, Wyoming
2011 Sierra Club and Tucson–based Center for Biological Diversity file a lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management oil and gas leases in Fresno and Monterey counties, arguing that BLM has failed to consider the possibility that these leases could be fracked, will all the entailing risks. By 2013, the court would agree that BLM broke the law, with BLM taking a voluntary remand to correct its deficient environmental analysis.[23]
2016 Sierra Club changes the name of LeConte Memorial Lodge to Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center after finding that Sierra Club founding member Joseph LeConte, for which the lodge was originally named, is now viewed as a racist and white supremacist.[9][24]

Sierra Club presidents

Period President[14]
1892-1914 John Muir (founder of The Sierra Club)
1915-1917 Joseph Nisbet LeConte (son of The Sierra Club founding member Joseph LeConte)
1917-1919 William Edward Colby
1919-1922 William F. Badè
1922-1924 Clair S. Tappaan
1924-1925 Robert M. Price
1925-1927 Walter L. Huber
1927-1928 Aurelia Harwood
1928-1931 Duncan McDuffie
1931-1933 Phil S. Bernays
1933-1935 Francis P. Farquhar
1935-1937 Ernest Dawson (father of mountaineer Glen Dawson)
1937-1940 Joel Henry Hildebrand
1940-1941 Francis D. Tappaan
1941-1943 Walter A. Starr (father of mountain climber Walter A. Starr, Jr.)
1943-1946 Duncan McDuffie
1946-1948 Bestor Robinson
1948-1949 Francis P. Farquhar
1949-1951 Lewis F. Clark
1951-1953 Harold E. Crowe
1953-1955 Richard M. Leonard
1955-1957 Alexander Hildebrand
1957-1959 Harold C. Bradley
1959-1961 Nathan C. Clark
1961-1964 Edgar Wayburn
1964-1966 William Siri
1966-1967 George Marshall
1967-1969 Edgar Wayburn
1969-1971 Phillip Berry
1971-1973 Raymond Sherwin
1973-1974 Laurence I. Moss
1974-1976 Kent Gill
1976-1977 Brant Calkin
1977-1978 William Futrell
1978-1980 Theodore Snyder
1980-1982 Joseph Fontaine
1982-1984 Denny Shaffer
1984-1986 Michele Perrault
1986-1988 Lawrence Downing
1988-1990 Richard Cellarius
1990-1991 Susan Merrow
1991-1992 Phillip Berry
1992-1993 H. Anthony Ruckel
1993-1994 Michele Perrault
1994-1996 Robbie Cox
1996-1998 Adam Werbach
1998–2000 Chuck McGrady
2000-2001 Robbie Cox
2001-2003 Jennifer Ferenstein
2003-2005 Larry Fahn
2005-2007 Lisa Renstrom
2007-2008 Robbie Cox
2008-2010 Allison Chin
2010-2012 Robin Mann
2012-2013 Allison Chin
2013-2015 David Scott
2015-2017 Aaron Mair
2017- Loren Blackford

External links


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 "Sierra Club (The)". Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Finding Aid to The Sierra Club Board of Directors meeting minutes, 1892-1995". Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  3. "Sierra Club, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. and Environmental Working Group". Google Trends. Retrieved 14 April 2021. 
  4. "Sierra Club". Retrieved 16 April 2021. 
  5. "Sierra Club". Retrieved 16 April 2021. 
  6. Michael P. Cohen, The History of the Sierra Club, 1892–1970 (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1988)
  7. "Sierra Club". Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  8. McClaran, Mitchel P. "Recreational Pack Stock Management in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks". Retrieved 8 July 2017. The Sierra Club sponsored their first annual High Trip in 1901. As many as 250 people spent a month in the backcountry, moving camp 1-2 times a week. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 "Sierra Club renames Yosemite stone hut". Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  10. Muir, John (1912). "Hetch Hetchy Valley". The Yosemite. New York: The Century Co. Retrieved 7 July 2017. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 ""The Mountains are Calling and I Must Go"". Retrieved 8 July 2017. 
  12. Starr, Kevin. The Dream Endures: California Enters the 1940s. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  13. "Half Dome Cables Modeling and Visitor Use Estimation Final Report" (PDF). Retrieved 7 July 2017. In 1920, The Sierra Club develope d a cable system that provides access to the summit of Half Dome for visitors without technical rock climbing ability. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Sierra Club Presidents". Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Secor, R. J. The High Sierra: Peaks, Passes, Trails. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  16. "Ski-Mountaineering Skills: Backcountry Travel". Retrieved 7 July 2017. In 1937, The Sierra Club adopted the Ski Mountaineering Test as a standard for ski tour leaders and advanced participants. 
  17. "Walt Disney's Mineral King". Retrieved 7 July 2017. In 1948, The Sierra Club had backed a plan for a ski resort at Mineral King, but the inadequate road killed the project 
  18. "50 Years Later: How the Civil Rights Act and the Wilderness Act Changed the U.S.". Retrieved 7 July 2017. The Wilderness Act established that wilderness lands have intrinsic worth and deserve to be protected in their natural state, unaltered by humans and free for everyone to experience and enjoy. 
  19. "Sierra Club (National)". Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  20. "New York Times: "Sierra Club Gets a Young New Face" June 2, 1996". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  21. "A Deeper Shade of Green". Retrieved 7 July 2017. In 1999, The Sierra Club received a multi-year grant to fund the establishment of an Environmental Justice Program and open five EJ offices around the country. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 "The Sierra Club". Retrieved 7 July 2017. In 2006, The Sierra Club prevented the Bush Administration from allowing commercial logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument. 
  23. "Ventana chapter". Retrieved 28 June 2017. 
  24. "Sierra Club Discovers Founder Was a White Supremacist". Retrieved 28 June 2017.