Tonight, The National Parks: America's Best Idea came to an end. It went out in blaze of glory as wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995. This was the culmination of work by George Wright and his protege Adolph Murrie, Park Service biologists who realized that wildlife in its wild state was an integral part of the parks and that all animals, both cute and ferocious, belonged there.
Biscayne NP was the featured park in this episode, along with the Alaska parks. Between President Carter wielding the Antiquities Act and Congress declaring National Parks, 1978-80 saw a huge increase in National Park acreage. It was a thrill to see the map of Alaska go from containing just Mount McKinley National Park to containing eight National Parks and other huge areas of protected land.
The person who figured prominently in this episode is Stewart Udall, Secretary of the Interior to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. His name is well known to conservationists and parks buffs. Under his watch, many parks were added to the system and George Hartzog was appointed as Park Service Director. The people highlight of the episode was when the various talking heads from the series told their own National Park stories.