Episode 1 of Ken Burns’ new documentary “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” aired several time yesterday, but in case you missed it (and forgot to set your DVR) you can watch the video over at PBS Online: http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/watch-video/#872
The video will be available until October 9th. Subsequent episodes will also be available the day after they air.
I was very impressed with the first episode. As expected, some of the imagery was gorgeous, but it was the histories and the stories that were most captivating to me. From John Muir’s adventures in Yosemite, to the initial discoveries of Yellowstone, to the legal and political wrangling that somehow managed to set aside these areas for the public.
It was also interesting to hear Niagara Falls get worked over quite a bit. Time and time again it was mentioned as an example of what could have happened to some of these places if not for the idea of public parks. Having recently witnessed firsthand the commercialization of the Falls, it is easier for me to appreciate how lucky we are that a place like Yosemite was spared the same fate.
Episode 2 airs tonight.