The National Parks: America's Best Idea

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 9:00pm - 11:00pm

Pictured: Yosemite

Credit: Carleton Watkins

This six-part documentary series, directed by Ken Burns and co-produced with Dayton Duncan, is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical.... that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. As such, it follows in the  tradition of Burns's exploration of other American inventions, such as baseball and jazz. The National Parks airs Thursdays, June 18-July 23 at 9 p.m. on WXXI-TV.

The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890) airs June 18 at 9 p.m. This examines the radical idea of creating national parks for the enjoyment of everyone.

The Last Refuge (1890-1915) airs June 25 at 9 p.m. This episode investigates the efforts of Theodore Roosevelt, John Muir and others to preserve and protect pristine lands.

The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919) airs July 2 at 9 p.m. Learn about the federal agency created to protect the parks and the fight over the Grand Canyon. 

Going Home (1920-1933) airs July 9 at 9 p.m. Encounter the growing numbers of visitors to the parks and those who advocate for park expansion.

Great Nature (1933-1945) airs July 16 at 9 p.m. Learn about the changes to the national parks during the Great Depression and World War II.

The Morning of Creation (1946-1980) airs July 23 at 9 p.m. This episode examines the proliferation of protected lands and the protection of predatory animals.



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