In Scotland, April 21, 1838, a boy was born to Daniel Muir and Ann Gilrye. His name was John, and he would become the father of forest preserves.
Muir's father was a very religious man, and by the age of 11, Muir had most of the Old Testament memorized, and all of the New Testament. It was also when he was 11 that he and his family moved to America, to a place near Portage, Wisconsin. Muir's father worked Muir and his family all day, but whenever Muir had time, he'd go and explore the forests around his house.
Muir attended the University of Wisconsin, but left after 3 years to travel. He started working at a carriage shop in Indiana, but after an accident left him temporarily blind in one eye, he left to travel from Indiana to Florida, sketching wildlife as he went. From Florida, he took a boat and traveled to Cuba, Panama, and finally California, where he discovered the Sierra Nevada... His "Range of Light". He worked in, and near, Yosemite Valley for several years... That was when he first developed his theory that the valley had been formed by glaciers.
He wrote, about this time, his first book, Studies in the Sierra, that started his career as a writer. He married about this time, and moved to a different city in California, where he lived with his family. Muir had wanderlust, however, and often traveled to places such as Alaska, Japan, China, and Europe, where he studied wildlife. He and several of his environmental followers formed the Sierra Club, which he was president of.
Muir wrote several articles for a magazine, and one of them was extremely influential in the making of the Yosemite National Park. A year later or so, he wrote another book about National Parks, that caught the attention of president Theodore Roosevelt.
Muir and the Sierra club managed to found several National Parks, but failed to stop the building of a dam in California. Muir died in Los Angeles in 1914.
PBS: John Muir
Americans Who Tell The Truth: John Muir
Wisconsin Historical Society: John Muir