Highlights of the history of the Sierra Club include the protection of wilderness areas and the passage of numerous environmental protection laws. Growth of the club and establishment of various publications along with blocking of logging and other commercial activities that could harm the environment also are among the highlights. The club's history has also included some setbacks, including the move of its headquarters following a fire.
A fire resulting from the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco destroyed the records and library of the club, which temporarily relocated to Berkeley. The club, founded in 1892 with 187 members, is one of the oldest and largest organizations in the United States dedicated to protecting the environment.
In 1964, the club persuaded Congress to pass the Wilderness Act, the first of its kind in the world. In 1970, Congress established the Environmental Protection Agency at the urging of the Sierra Club. The club has successfully lobbied to establish and strengthen clean air and water legislation over the vetoes of several U.S. presidents. It fought to protect national lands, including the Grand Canyon, from commercial interests wishing to alter the lands by logging or building dams.
The club has produced numerous films and publications. Between the 1930s and 1960s, many publications featured the photography of naturalist and club member Ansel Adams.