The National Parks: America's Best Idea

Season 1 Episode 2

The Last Refuge (1890-1915)

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Aired Daily 8:00 PM Sep 28, 2009 on PBS
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Episode Summary

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A conservationist movement grows and due to the efforts of the newly-formed Audubon Society and Sierra Club, Congress finally begins to pass Federal laws designating what people can and can not do in National Parks.
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    • TRIVIA (1)

      • Most naturalists believe that the North American bison was only saved from extinction because of the small herds that were protected at Yellowstone National Park at the end of the 19th century.

    • QUOTES (2)

      • Voice of Theodore Roosevelt: (on the Grand Canyon) Keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. Leave it as it is. You can not improve it. The ages have worked on it and man can only mar it.

      • Narrator: (John Muir pleads to include the Yosemite Valley as part of Yosemite National Park) Muir soon found himself seated in the President's coach, along with the Governor of California, the Secretary of the Navy, the Surgeon General, two college presidents, and Roosevelt's personal secretary. It was hardly the trip he had been promised, but Muir tried his best to squeeze in words to the President and the Governor about making all of Yosemite a National Park.

    • NOTES (2)

      • The episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming.

      • Producer/director Ken Burns reported that temperatures at the Grand Canyon were so high when his team was filming that the rocks that they laid their sleeping bags on at night were still hot enough to keep them from falling asleep.

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