The National Parks: America's Best Idea

Season 1 Episode 1

The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)

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Aired Daily 8:00 PM Sep 27, 2009 on PBS
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Episode Summary

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Transplanted Scotsman John Muir documents the beauty of what is now known as Yosemite National Park and the United States makes the first efforts to protect this area and Yellowstone for all citizens to enjoy.
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    Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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    • TRIVIA (1)

      • Yosemite National Park is named after a mistaken assumption about the name of the local Native Americans that were living in the region during the mid 1800s.

    • QUOTES (2)

      • Voice of Truman Everts: (lost in Yellowstone in 1870 but later finding hot springs) I was enveloped in a perpetual steam bath. At first, this was barely preferable to the storm, but I soon became accustomed to it, and before I left, though thoroughly par-boiled, I actually enjoyed it.

      • Voice of Lafayette Bunnel: (on seeing the Yosemite Valley in 1851) As I looked, a peculiar exalted sensation seemed to fill my whole being. And I found my eyes in tears with emotion. I said with some enthusiasm - I have here seen the power and glory of a Supreme Being.

    • NOTES (1)

      • The National Parks: America's Best Idea was not only ten years in the making but the filming of the park scenery took six years. Shot by a team of cinematographers (including Ken Burns himself), this modern footage is the most included in a Burns' documentary since Lewis & Clark: The Journey of the Corps of Discovery. During the course of development, this series had a few alternate working titles - including "The National Parks: An American Treasure" and the "reversed" name "America's Best Idea: The National Parks."

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