The Sierra Club

The Sierra Club's founder, John Muir helped save the Yosemite Valley and was an instrumental force behind the establishment of Yosemite National Park. Photo © Tracy Barbutes / Getty Images.

The Sierra Club is a grassroots organization that works to protect ecological communities, encourage smart energy solutions, and to create an enduring legacy for America's wildernesses. Its current initiatives include coal alternatives, limiting greenhouse emissions, clean energy, green transport, and protecting wildlife communities.

The Sierra Club is also involved in issues such as environmental justice, clean air, clean water, global population, toxic waste, and responsible trade.

The Sierra Club has always encouraged its members to venture outside and enjoy nature. The organization offers a variety of outings for its members ranging from backpacking and camping to biking, canoeing, and rafting. It also supports vibrant local chapters that enable club members to become involved in conservation work in their area.

The spirit of nature exploration and appreciation expressed by Sierra Club founder John Muir still lives on today in the organization. John Muir wrote:

"I drifted about from rock to rock, from stream to stream, from grove to grove. Where night found me, there I camped. When I discovered a new plant, I sat down beside it for a minute or a day, to make its acquaintance and hear what it had to tell ... I asked the boulders I met, whence they came and whither they were going."


The Sierra Club was founded by naturalist John Muir. It was officially incorporated in San Francisco in 1892.

The initial aims of the organization were "to explore, enjoy, and render accessible the mountain regions of the Pacific Coast; to publish authentic information concerning them," and "to enlist the support and cooperation of the people and government in preserving the forests and other natural features of the Sierra Nevada."

During the 1980s, the Sierra Club worked to keep the Clean Air Act strong and helped strengthen both the Superfund law and Clean Water Act.

In recent years, the Sierra Club has led efforts in halting oil exploration and drilling plans in sensitive environments such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. They fought to protect the Everglades and Biscayne Bay National Parks by preventing Dade County from constructing an airport near the parks. In 2006, the Sierra Club prevented the Bush Administration from allowing commercial logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument. In 2008, they blocked a wolf killing initiative in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

How they spend their money

  • 87.3% of expenses go towards conservation projects
  • 3.3% of expenses go towards administration
  • 9.2% of expenses go towards fundraising


You can also find the Sierra Club on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr.


The Sierra Club Foundation
85 Second Street
Suite 750
San Francisco, CA 94105
tel: (415) 995-1780
fax: (415) 995-1791


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Your Citation
Klappenbach, Laura. "The Sierra Club." ThoughtCo, Jan. 28, 2016, Klappenbach, Laura. (2016, January 28). The Sierra Club. Retrieved from Klappenbach, Laura. "The Sierra Club." ThoughtCo. (accessed November 24, 2017).