Ken Burns: The National Parks
America’s Best Idea

PBS
Show More

6 videos in this collection

The Scripture of Nature
In 1851, word spreads across the country of a beautiful area of California's Yosemite Valley, attracting visitors who wish to exploit the land's scenery for commercial gain and those who…
The Last Refuge
By the end of the 19th century, widespread industrialization has left many Americans worried about whether the country - once a vast wilderness - will have any pristine land left.…
The Empire of Grandeur
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,…
Going Home
While visiting the parks was once predominantly the domain of Americans wealthy enough to afford the high-priced train tours, the advent of the automobile allows more people than ever before…
Great Nature
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…
The Morning of Creation
Following World War II, the parks are overwhelmed as visitation reaches 62 million people a year. A new billion-dollar campaign - Mission 66 - is created to build facilities and…

Comments (2)

Anonymous picture
Zoe

So uplifting to watch and an amazing story of success and conservation! If you're feeling down watch this! Truly one of the country's best ideas.

Anonymous picture
Eileen

This series has to be one of the best of Ken Burns' historic stories. I have watched it 3 times so far and marvel how we even set aside the parks despite the odds against them! Now our goal is to visit as many of the parks and monuments as we can during our travels. I want to encourage you to ...Read more

Related videos

Finding Your Roots - Season 1
PBS
Presented and written by Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., this series journeys deep into the ancestry of a group of remarkable individuals and provides new understanding of personal identity and American history.
Finding Your Roots - Season 2
PBS
Since the premiere of his groundbreaking series African American Lives (2006), noted scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., has been helping people discover long-lost relatives hidden for generations within the branches of their family trees. Now, in the second season of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Professor Gates…
Makers: Women Who Make America - Season 2
PBS
In the last half-century, women have fought their way into nearly every sphere of American life, from the battlefield to the comedy club, the soundstage to the Senate. Each documentary in this six-part series examines the impact of the women's movement on six fields once largely closed to women: business,…
Makers: Women Who Make America - Season 1
PBS
The first season of Makers tells the remarkable story of the most sweeping social revolution in American history, as women have asserted their rights to a full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy. It's a revolution that has unfolded in public and private, in courts…
Ken Burns: Mark Twain
PBS
In his time, Mark Twain was considered the funniest man on earth. Yet he was also an unflinching critic of human nature, using his humor to attack hypocrisy, greed and racism. In this series, Ken Burns has created an illuminating portrait of the man who is also one of the…
Ken Burns: Thomas Jefferson
PBS
Thomas Jefferson is a two-part portrait of one of the most fascinating and complicated figures ever to walk across America's public stage - our enigmatic and brilliant third president. Thomas Jefferson embodies within his own life the most profound contradictions of American history: as the author of our most sacred…
Humorists
Part of the Series: Advocates of Change
They have made a difference and revolutionized the world. They come from all walks of life and from all corners of the globe. These remarkable individuals have pioneered, developed and forever improved their industry and the world in which we live. Engaging and relevant, these individuals will change the way…
Timothy's Quest
A charming pastoral about two unwanted children finding acceptance and love, Timothy's Quest (1922) is a rare, cinematic gem based on a novel by Kate Douglas Wiggin (Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm), who was then known as "America's best loved author of stories about children."* The only production of the Dirigo…
Ken Burns: The Dust Bowl
PBS
Until the arrival of European and American settlers in the late nineteenth century, the southern Plains of the United States were predominantly grasslands, the home and hunting grounds of many Native American tribes and the range of untold millions of bison. It was seldom used for farming. Bitterly cold winters,…
Ken Burns: Prohibition
PBS
A three-part, five-and-a-half-hour documentary film series directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the story of the rise, rule, and fall of the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and the entire era it encompassed. The culmination of nearly a century of activism, Prohibition was intended to improve,…
The American Brew - The Rich And Surprising History Of Beer
PBS
A documentary about the rich and surprising history of beer: America's favorite beverage of moderation. From colonial settlers, through the rise of microbrewers and developments in brewing technologies, THE AMERICAN BREW explores the evolution of beer throughout the centuries.
Wonders of the National Parks - A Geology of North America
In 1872, a wondrous region called Yellowstone was set aside as the world's first national park, giving adventurous travelers access to a geologist's paradise that seethes with pent-up volcanic forces. As more and more national parks were created--not just in the United States but also in Canada and Mexico--geologists were…