MARTINEZ -- John Muir and his family are buried in a small cemetery alongside Alhambra Creek tucked at the rear of a pear orchard his father-in-law planted in the 1800s.
The 1.27-acre property sits approximately one mile south of the John Muir National Historic Site, off Alhambra Valley Road. The National Park Service, which acquired the property in 2000, is collecting public input as the agency develops a plan for managing the grave site.
The comment period opened at the beginning of March and so far about a dozen people have submitted letters, according to park service spokeswoman Gretchen Stromberg.
The property is surrounded by houses, prompting concerns from neighbors that the site could be overrun with visitors. But while one of the key parts of the planning process will be figuring out how to provide "appropriate" access to the grave site, Stromberg said the park service doesn't intend to make the site more or less accessible to the public.
"We absolutely do not have plans to make the visitation anything like what the house site is like," she said. "I think we're all in agreement it's almost like a sacred place. It's a quiet place of reflection and that's what we plan to continue."
The park service is forbidden by law from building anything on the property or altering its rural character, Stromberg added. The management plan must take into account the potential impact visitors would have on the property and address how the agency will preserve the cultural and historical landscape and maintain the ecological integrity of the creek, she said.
Although it's easy to find directions online to the grave site, the park service is trying to keep the exact location under wraps until after the management plan is completed in fall 2014.
In addition to Muir, his wife Louie Strentzel Muir, his in-laws, Dr. John Strentzel and Louisiana Strentzel, and the Muirs' daughter, Wanda Muir Hanna and her husband, Thomas, are buried in the small Muir/Strentzel plot.
For more information or to submit comments on the Muir/Strentzel grave site visit www.nps.gov.
Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.