By the early 20th century, most of these forests had been cut down. Just north of the San Francisco Bay, one valley named Sequoia Canyon remained uncut, mainly due to its relative inaccessibility.
This did not go unnoticed by U.S. Congressman William Kent. He and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent purchased 611 acres (2.47 kmē) of land from the Tamalpais Land and Water Company for $45,000 with the goal of protecting the redwoods and the mountain above them.
In 1907, a water company in nearby Sausalito planned to dam Redwood Creek, thereby flooding the valley. When Kent objected to the plan, the water company took him to court to attempt to force the damming project to move ahead. Kent sidestepped the water company's ploy by donating 295 acres (1.2 kmē) of the redwood forest to the Federal Government, thus bypassing the local courts.
On January 9, 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a national monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual. The original suggested name of the Monument was the Kent monument but Kent insisted the Monument be named after naturalist John Muir.
- On a personal note, Muir Woods is an absolutely breathtaking site for someone from New York like myself. The mere beauty of it was so soothing and relaxing. I would definitely encourage people to visit this beautiful place if you happen to visit San Francisco. I took this picture at one of the first little bridges that linked tourist trails and would be uploading a few more pictures from my visit later on. It's a shame it can't be viewed large, it really is beautiful.