Monday, September 28, 2009
Ken Burns Does Not Disappoint
Last night, PBS showed the first episode of The National Parks: America's Best Idea. It was just as good as I had hoped for. It is not the show to watch if you just want to see pretty pictures of national parks. It is for someone who wants to know the history of the parks. I have a whole bookshelf of national park books, and I am very interested in the history. John Muir was prominently featured in this episode, as he will be in tonight's episode along with Theodore Roosevelt, our greatest conservation president. Yellowstone and Yosemite were the featured parks, and the episode ends with the total number of parks standing at four: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, and General Grant (now part of Kings Canyon NP). I was disappointed that Burns did not mention Hot Springs Reservation (now Hot Springs NP), which pre-dated Yosemite by 30 years, or Mackinac National Park (now Mackinac Island State Park), which was the second national park after Yellowstone, as part of the early history. I suppose that they did not quite fit the narrative. In any project, you have to decide what to leave in and what to leave out. If you missed the first episode, you can catch it on the PBS web site.