Muir exhibit leaving soon, but Muir Park easy to visit
By Steve Hill
It’s the last weekend to see the state historical society’s exhibit on John Muir while it’s in Stevens Point, but that doesn’t mean it’s your last chance to get a little closer to understanding what he was about.
The eight-panel exhibit, set up through Oct. 21 in the lobby of the library at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), focuses on Muir’s youth in Wisconsin, his advocacy for the U.S. national parks system and his thoughts on environmental issues.
The exhibit’s next stop is UW-Parkside in Kenosha, where it will reside from Oct. 24-Nov. 11, but anyone can get a slightly different take – and likely a more brisk one – by taking a walk at his boyhood home at John Muir Memorial County Park south of Montello.
Frequent hiking buddy Chris Sadler and I made the hour-long drive to Marquette County to take in the early fall air and see where the 10-year-old Muir learned to swim and loved to explore the natural world.
Muir was, of course, one of those pesky immigrants, a Scotsman who made the United States a much better place to live. He did this primarily through his classic nature writings and by promoting the idea of setting aside our most wonderful natural spots as public parks, protected for our enjoyment and spiritual, emotional and mental health.
The memorial park includes a portion of the homestead purchased by Muir’s father when the family arrived in Wisconsin in 1849. It is a beautiful little site for short walks or a daylong picnic, as well as birdwatching and other activities.
There are much more grand monuments to Muir, starting with Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, whose links to the inventor-turned-naturalist are well established, even if those places are not monuments to him in name.
To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of the Portage County Gazette at one of the many newsstands in the area, including gas stations and grocery stores. Or subscribe at www.shopmmclocal.com/product/portage-county-gazette to have weekly copies delivered by mail.
For more information or to subscribe over the phone, call 715-343-8045.