The National Parks: America's Best Idea

  • 2009
  • 1 Season
  • TV-G

A sumptuously filmed documentary series that explores the origins of America's national parks, from their genesis in the mid-1800s to the present. It features archival photographs, personal memories, more than 40 interviews and gorgeous cinematography of such locales as Acadia, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone.

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Available to Stream

Season 1, Episode 1 The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)

First Aired: September 27, 2009

The sumptuously filmed history of America's national parks begins in 1851, when California's beautiful Yosemite Valley started to attract people who wished to exploit the land, and others, like John Muir, who believed it should be preserved. In 1864, Congress passed legislation to protect the land from commercial interests, but ceded control to California. In 1872, Congress protected Yellowstone, in the Wyoming Territory's northwest corner, by creating the first national park.

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