The National Parks: America's Best Idea

PBS (ended 2009)


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  • All (8)
  • Season 1 (7)
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  • The Morning of Creation (1946-1980)

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 6 - 10/2/09

    As the parks enter the current era, they embrace modern principles of environmentalism rather than the simple preservation of scenic localities. At the same time, a booming post-war nation makes use of the National Parks in staggering numbers - placing more stress on the growing system than ever before.moreless
  • Great Nature (1933-1945)

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 5 - 10/1/09

    The Great Depression proves to have an unexpected benefit for the National Parks as Franklin Roosevelt's Civilian Conservations Corps makes substantial improvements to the park system. The National Park Service begins to emphasize ecosystem preservation, something that drives the creation of Florida's Everglades National Park.moreless
  • Going Home (1920-1933)

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 4 - 9/30/09

    Park Service Director Stephen Mather sees the possibilities of motor traffic for increasing the use of the park system and installs many more roadways within their boundaries. The Grand Tetons of Wyoming and the Great Smoky Mountains are among the newest areas to be designated as National Parks.moreless
  • Untold Stories: Manzanar: "Never Again"



    Manzanar: "Never Again" looks at the interconnected stories of Japanese internment during World War II, Sue Kunitomi Embrey's efforts to commemorate Manzanar internment camp, and the ongoing work of Manzanar National Historic Site to educate visitors about civil rights.moreless
  • The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919)

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 3 - 9/29/09

    As questions arise of how the National Parks should function, the National Park Service is created to uniformly administer America's park system and to seek out and protect new areas of intrinsic worth.moreless
  • The Last Refuge (1890-1915)

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 2 - 9/28/09

    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.moreless
  • The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)

    Full Episode

    S 1 : Ep 1 - 9/27/09

    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.moreless
  • The Making of The National Parks

    Full Episode


    Filmmaker Ken Burns and his longtime colleague Dayton Duncan take us on a behind-the-scenes tour of their series THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA'S BEST IDEA.