Muir Wood Teen

John Muir: An Inspiration

sierra-clubJohn Muir (1838-1914) is often referred to as the “Father of the National Parks.” He was an American naturalist, author, conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club. He has been described as one of the patron saints of 20th-century environmentalism. He was an inspiration for the creation of Muir Wood Adolescent & Family Services, and many of the landmarks that bear his name – like Muir Woods and Muir Beach – are only miles away from the Muir Wood campus.

John Muir’s passion for nature began in his teens, and although deeply spiritual, he found a higher power in the outdoors, calling nature the grandest of all temples. He was a rebellious teen with a wild imagination and an intellect to match. Often disobedient with his family and skipping school, Muir found solace and comfort in nature.

A New Light

In his 20s, Muir was involved in an accident that would change the course of his life. He was blinded and confined to a darkened room for six weeks. A young man, with passion and vigor, Muir thought he’d never regain his sight. It is because of this incident that Muir “saw the world and his purpose in a new light.” Muir would write, “This affliction has driven me to the sweet fields. God has to nearly kill us sometimes, to teach us lessons.” From this point on, Muir had a spiritual awakening akin to what many teens experience when they begin their journey of recovery from the darkened room of mental health problems and drug and alcohol use.


Scott Sowle“Muir had a spiritual awakening akin to what many teens experience when they begin their journey of recovery from the darkened room of drug and alcohol dependency.”
Scott Sowle
Founder & Executive Director