IMDb > "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" (2009)
"The National Parks: America's Best Idea"
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"The National Parks: America's Best Idea" (2009) More at IMDbPro »TV mini-series 2009-

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The National Parks: America's Best Idea: Season 1: Episode 6 -- After World War II, an increasingly mobile and affluent nation begins placing demands on the parks as never before, and the parks are in danger of being "loved to death." A Park Service biologist named Adolph Murie argues that ingrained practices such as killing predators runs counter to the purpose of national parks, while David Brower of the Sierra Club mobilizes public opinion to defeat Congressional proposals for dams in pristine places. In the 1970s, when President Jimmy Carter uses the Antiquities Act to set aside 56 million acres in Alaska, a huge uproar results -- and the largest grassroots movement in conservation history fights for the creation of seven new Alaska parks, adding 47 million acres, more than doubling the size of the park system.


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Release Date:
27 September 2009 (USA) See more »
The history of the U.S. National Parks system, including the initial ideas which led to the world's first national parks and the expansion of the system over 150 years.
Won 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 5 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Fascinating, intriguing, unexpected See more (12 total) »


 (Series Cast Summary - 26 of 39)

Peter Coyote ... Himself - Narrator (6 episodes, 2009)
William Cronon ... Himself - Historian (6 episodes, 2009)
Dayton Duncan ... Himself - Writer (6 episodes, 2009)
Shelton Johnson ... Himself - Park Ranger (6 episodes, 2009)
Alfred Runte ... Himself - Historian (6 episodes, 2009)
Paul Schullery ... Himself - Writer (5 episodes, 2009)
Carl Pope ... Himself - Sierra Club (5 episodes, 2009)
Terry Tempest Williams ... Herself - Writer (5 episodes, 2009)
Murphy Guyer ... Reader (5 episodes, 2009)

Philip Bosco ... Reader (5 episodes, 2009)
Kevin Conway ... Reader (5 episodes, 2009)

Tom Hanks ... Reader (5 episodes, 2009)
Kim Heacox ... Himself - Writer (4 episodes, 2009)

Adam Arkin ... Reader (4 episodes, 2009)
Lee Stetson ... Himself - Muir Historian / ... (4 episodes, 2009)

Amy Madigan ... Reader (4 episodes, 2009)
Lee Whittlesey ... Himself - Historian (3 episodes, 2009)
Nevada Barr ... Herself - Former Ranger (3 episodes, 2009)
Juanita Greene ... Herself - Journalist (3 episodes, 2009)
Gerard Baker ... Himself - Park Superintendent (3 episodes, 2009)

Carolyn McCormick ... Reader (3 episodes, 2009)
Tim Clark ... Reader (3 episodes, 2009)

Derek Jacobi ... Reader (3 episodes, 2009)

Josh Lucas ... Reader (3 episodes, 2009)

Gene Jones ... Reader (3 episodes, 2009)

Eli Wallach ... Reader (3 episodes, 2009)

Series Directed by
Ken Burns (6 episodes, 2009)
Series Writing credits
Dayton Duncan (6 episodes, 2009)

Series Produced by
Pam Tubridy Baucom .... coordinating producer (6 episodes, 2009)
Ken Burns .... executive producer / producer (6 episodes, 2009)
Dayton Duncan .... producer (6 episodes, 2009)
Julie Dunfey .... co-producer (6 episodes, 2009)
David McMahon .... co-producer (6 episodes, 2009)
Craig Mellish .... co-producer (6 episodes, 2009)
Aileen Silverstone .... associate producer (6 episodes, 2009)
Susanna Steisel .... associate producer (6 episodes, 2009)
Series Cinematography by
Ken Burns (6 episodes, 2009)
Lincoln Else (6 episodes, 2009)
Allen Moore (6 episodes, 2009)
Buddy Squires (6 episodes, 2009)
Series Film Editing by
Paul Barnes (4 episodes, 2009)
Erik Ewers (2 episodes, 2009)
Craig Mellish (2 episodes, 2009)
Series Art Department
Mac Talmadge .... graphic designer (1 episode, 2009)
Series Sound Department
Michael Miller .... original dialogue mixer (6 episodes, 2009)
Brian Roth .... voice over recording (6 episodes, 2009)
Michael Suarez .... post-production sound / sound (6 episodes, 2009)
Dominick Tavella .... sound re-recording mixer (6 episodes, 2009)
Meagan Frappiea .... assistant sound editor (3 episodes, 2009)
Dave Mast .... sound effects editor (2 episodes, 2009)
Series Camera and Electrical Department
Emre Aslay .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Chris Bardsley .... camera operator (1 episode, 2009)
Ken Burns .... camera operator (1 episode, 2009)
Nate Clapp .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Lincoln Else .... assistant camera / camera operator (1 episode, 2009)
James Fitzgerald .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Dickey Galvin .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Garrett Guidera .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Roger Haydock .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Patrick Kelly .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Tracy Litwin .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Paul Marbury .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Allen Moore .... camera operator (1 episode, 2009)
Antonio Rossi .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Anthony Savini .... assistant camera (1 episode, 2009)
Series Animation Department
Richard Rubin .... animator (1 episode, 2009)
Daniel J. White .... animator (1 episode, 2009)
Series Editorial Department
Chris Beardsley .... technician: Arriscan (6 episodes, 2009)
John Dowdell .... colorist (6 episodes, 2009)
Meagan Frappiea .... apprentice editor (6 episodes, 2009)
Paul Barnes .... supervising editor (4 episodes, 2009)

Erik Ewers .... additional editor (unknown episodes)
Ryan Gifford .... assistant editor (unknown episodes)
Craig Mellish .... additional editor (unknown episodes)
Margaret Shepardson-Legere .... assistant editor (unknown episodes)
Series Music Department
Jacob Ribicoff .... music editor (6 episodes, 2009)
David Cieri .... musician: piano (3 episodes, 2009)

Will Duncan .... composer: additional music / music: performer (unknown episodes)
Series Transportation Department
Brent Bixler .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Sean Brennan .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Brian H. Dierker .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Allen Etheridge .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Lee Fink .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Ron Gedda .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Kevin Murphy .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Mike Nigro .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Paul Osman .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Larry Warrington .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Dwight Willey .... driver (1 episode, 2009)
Series Other crew
Susan Shumaker .... researcher (6 episodes, 2009)
Lindsey Warren .... intern / production team (6 episodes, 2009)
Series Thanks
Brad Washburn .... in memory of (1 episode, 2009)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

USA:120 min (6 episodes)
Aspect Ratio:
1.78 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful.
Fascinating, intriguing, unexpected, 3 October 2009
Author: angelofvic from United States

I just finished watching Ken Burn's The National Parks: America's Best Idea, and it's fabulous -- it far far far exceeded any expectations I may have had.

The series is fascinating, surprising, intriguing, unexpected, and well narrated and voiced and commentated. The visuals are a combination of historical works (photos, footage, articles, etc.), lovely paintings and photos, and of course glorious beautiful high-definition cinematography. The narration (which is so interesting you don't even need to watch the images -- as I learned when I had to eat dinner during part of it -- but who can resist!) is done by Peter Coyote, and the voices of the historical letter-writers, authors, journalists, and so forth is by various luminaries from Eli Wallach, Derek Jacobi, John Lithgow, Adam Arkin, Tom Hanks, and dozens of others. And there are the occasional live comments from historians and other experts from various walks of life.

It's exquisitely put together and organized, never leaving the viewer bored; stories flow into and out of one another, or end only to be unexpectedly picked up again in a later hour or episode. The story of the parks is told not only through the stories of the politicians and naturalists involved, but also through the lives of everyday people and of artists and photographers (such as Ansel Adams) who loved the wilderness locales. There is a perfect mix of history, nature, beauty, drama, suspense, victories, defeats, and human interest. I was in tears at a few points.

Although a small handful of the names important to the natural park system are familiar (John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, etc.), the stories involving even those few are quite unexpected and fascinating. The vast majority of the true movers and shakers in the development of the natural parks are, however, gloriously unsung -- and thus doubly interesting because their outsized stories, which affected the country so greatly, are not nationally famous.

If you wish to purchase the DVD set, it's cheapest on Amazon, and the shipping is free.

If you watch the series on TV reruns if it ever returns, make sure you do it in order. It starts in 1851:

1851-1890: The Scripture of Nature

1890-1915: The Last Refuge

1915-1919: The Empire of Grandeur

1920-1933: Going Home

1933-1945: Great Nature

1946-1980: The Morning of Creation

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my favorite of all his documentaries msdramateacher
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First two days interesting....but then...ahhh...well... .yeah... slipslider
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