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California Greenin'How the Golden State Became an Environmental Leader$
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David Vogel

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691196176

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691196176.001.0001

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Protecting the Land

Protecting the Land

(p.48) 3 Protecting the Land
California Greenin'

David Vogel

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses the efforts to protect Yosemite and the sequoias in the Sierras in the nineteenth century and then turns to the more heated conflicts over the fate of the coastal redwoods. The roots of California's tradition of civic mobilization lie in nature protection. This tradition began with the efforts of a few prominent individuals—including John Muir, Horace Greeley, and Frederick Olmsted—and then became institutionalized in the upper-middle-class Sierra and Sempervirens clubs and the predominantly upper-class Save-the-Redwoods League. Broader grassroots citizen mobilization played a critical role in campaigns to return control of Yosemite to the federal government, expand the size of and increase the funding for state parks, and protect endangered sequoias in the Sierras. The state's administrative capacity to protect California's scenic environment was initially limited, paralleling its inability to regulate hydraulic mining during the mid-nineteenth century. However, this capacity subsequently expanded through the establishment of institutions such as the State Board of Agriculture, the State Forestry Commission, and the State Parks Commission.

Keywords:   Yosemite, endangered sequoias, civic mobilization, nature protection, State Board of Agriculture, State Forestry Commission, State Parks Commission, Sierra Club, Sempervirens Club, Save-the-Redwoods League

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