During my trip to San Francisco last week, my step-sister Elizabeth and I visited Muir Woods. Here’s what we learned from a lecture by a volunteer: Giant redwood trees can grow up to 320′ and live up to 2,000 years. They once covered the entire Northern Hemisphere worldwide. The climate changed and many of them gave way to other species, but there were still millions of acres of redwoods, especially on the West Coast. When white men came west, they discovered that the wood from these trees was resistant to insects and fire, so redwoods became the preferred building material. Finally, in 1909, there remained a small stand near San Francisco on land owned by William Kent. After the 1906 devastating earthquake and fire in San Francisco, the stand of trees was about to taken by eminent domain to rebuild the city. Through his Yale connections, Kent appealed to Teddy Roosevelt, who, with a stroke of the pen, and within days of the clearcutting, proclaimed Muir Woods a National Monument. It’s within an hour of the city and is a popular place to visit and see the world as it once was.