MARTINEZ, Calif. – A new law will expand the John Muir National Historic Site by 44 acres, U.S. Representative Mark DeSaulnier announced.
DeSaulnier, the Walnut Creek Democrat member of the House whose district contains a portion of Martinez, introduced his bill, H.R., 1719, to add the acreage of donated land to the 330-acre park.
He said it would help improve access to the East Bay’s natural spaces and would preserve the land for the future.
It passed in the House by a vote of 401 to 15 and its companion bill, introduced by Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) was unanimously passed in the Senate. President Donald Trump signed the bill into law.
The John Muir Land Trust donated the land, which is on the south side of Mount Wanda. Because the parcel is too large for the National Park Service to acquire administratively, the transfer required Congressional approval.
Acquiring the land has been a long-term goal. Former U.S. Representative, who represented the 11th Congressional District for many years before retiring, first introduced legislation to acquire the land. DeSaulnier represents District 11 now.
“Contra Costa’s own John Muir, the father of our national parks, championed the revolutionary idea that America’s wild spaces ought to be preserved for all to enjoy,” DeSaulnier said.
“Through his writings and teachings, he helped to shape our appreciation of open spaces by reminding us to ‘keep close to Nature’s heart,’” he said.
“It has been an honor to help expand the site where Muir lived and wrote. Providing residents with additional ways to explore the beauty of the East Bay seems to be a fitting tribute to the man who loved and valued our natural wonders.”
“The expansion of the John Muir Historic Site will ensure that future generations of Californians and others will have the opportunity to continue to learn about his legacy as the father of the National Park Service,” Harris said.
“John Muir’s advocacy paved the path toward the protection of Yosemite and Sequoia as national parks, and Californians owe him a debt of gratitude, so I am pleased that this expansion will now move forward,” she said. “Our public lands are rich with natural diversity, and are worthy of our protection and preservation.”
Linus Eukel, executive director of the John Muir Land Trust, praised the cooperative effort that led to the expansion.
“Permanently protecting the legacy of John Muir is very much a team effort,” Eukel said.
“Mark DeSaulnier, Kamala Harris and (U.S. Senator) Dianne Feinstein are the foundation of just such a partnership,” he said. “Their dynamic leadership, passion and commitment, supported by a remarkably generous group of John Muir Land Trust supporters, will permanently protect this beautiful property for future local, national and international generations to enjoy forever.”
He said the John Muir Land Trust is pleased to share in the achievement.
Miller, who is from Martinez, called the passage of the John Muir Historic Site Expansion “a remarkable achievement by Congressman DeSaulnier.”
Calling the legislation and expansion recognition of Muir’s contribution to preservation of public lands in California, he said, “We now know that the historic and environmental integrity of the site will be preserved for future generations in our community and in our country.”
The John Muir National Historic Site’s visitor center and the Muir Home is at 4202 Alhambra Ave. It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Mount Wanda site is open from sunrise to sunset, with some ranger-guided programs taking place at night. Admission is free. Its website is https://www.nps.gov/jomu/index.htm.