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Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks

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Ken Burns: The National Parks - America’s Best Idea
PBS
The National Parks: America's Best Idea is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. As such, it follows in the…
Great Nature
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
To battle unemployment in the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt creates the Civilian Conservation Corps, which spawns a "golden age" for the parks through major renovation projects. In a groundbreaking study, a young NPS biologist named George Melendez Wright discovers widespread abuses of animal habitats and pushes the service to…
The Empire of Grandeur
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
In the early 20th century, America has a dozen national parks, but they are a haphazard patchwork of special places under the supervision of different federal agencies. The conservation movement, after failing to stop the Hetch Hetchy dam, pushes the government to establish one unified agency to oversee all the…
Mount Saint Helens, Lassen Volcanic, Rainier
Tour Mount Rainier National Park and Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Pacific Northwest, which are part of the Cascade Range of active volcanoes that include Mount Saint Helens. Then visit a group of similarly cataclysmic volcanoes in national parks in central Mexico.
Volcanoes of Alaska: Katmai and Lake Clark
Travel to Alaska to explore the vast national parks at Katmai and Lake Clark. Katmai was the site of the 20th century's largest volcanic eruption, while Lake Clark is unusual among national parks for having no roads and being accessible only by boat or small plane.
South Africa 6: Kagga Kamma - Land of the Bushmen
"Recommended. Originally, the Bushmen/San lived in the Kagga Kamma area of western South Africa, but European settlement drove them into the Kalahari Desert; today, we see some Bushmen/San have resettled in their original homeland. Here Bushmen/San and reserve rangers explain how the Bushmen/San culture lives off the land; we see…
Grand Teton and Jackson Hole
At Grand Teton National Park south of Yellowstone, an active fault lifts some of North America's oldest rocks to the summits of some of the continent's youngest mountains. Explore these glacier-sculpted peaks, and learn the origin of the broad valley, called Jackson Hole, at the base of the Teton Range.
Great Smoky Mountains and Hot Springs
Survey some of the attractions that make the Great Smoky Mountains America's most visited national park. Investigate a related geological structure in the famous Hot Springs National Park, discovering why there are hot springs so far from volcanic activity.
Reefs: Virgin Islands, Florida, Texas
Turn to a trio of national parks where corals and other reef creatures are helping create new carbonate rock. Then encounter a massive reef from our planet's past, raised to towering heights at Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
Mammoth Cave, Wind Cave, Carlsbad Caverns
Visit underground parks, exploring a tiny portion of the hundreds of miles of mapped passages in Mammoth Cave, Wind Cave, and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks. Consider the similarities and differences between these caves--two carved by mildly acidic rainwater, the other by dilute sulfuric acid!
Assembling North America, Park by Park
Conclude by surveying national parks not yet visited in the course, traversing North America on a grand expedition. Along the way, assess the geology of this spectacularly diverse continent. From the Appalachians to the Aleutians, the national parks and other protected lands tell a dramatic and unforgettable story.
The Dakota Badlands
Visit Theodore Roosevelt, Badlands, and Mount Rushmore National Parks in the Dakotas, beholding the landscape that inspired Theodore Roosevelt to become an ardent conservationist. Learn how the fantastic forms of the badlands are the product of deposition, uplift, and erosion.