The Last Refuge
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks

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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…
Going Home
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
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 to visit the parks. Mather embraces this opportunity and works to build more roads in the parks. Some park enthusiasts,…
The Scripture of Nature
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
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 wish to keep it pristine. Among the latter is a Scottish-born wanderer named John Muir, for whom protecting the land…
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…
Great National Parks of Australia
Australia has some of the most spectacular, diverse and unique scenery in the world. This documentary explores six national parks, capturing the beauty, history and human impact on these areas. Featured are the marine wonderlands of the Great Barrier Reef, the rainforest splendour of the Daintree and Queensland's wet tropics.…
The Morning of Creation
Part of the Series: Ken Burns: The National Parks
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 infrastructure that can accommodate the flood of visitors. A biologist named Adolph Murie introduces the revolutionary notion that predatory animals,…
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.
Many Ways to See the World
Based on the popular and provocative book, Seeing Through Maps, this new video provides a fascinating 30-minute exploration into the minds of twelve mapmakers and how their unique backgrounds, philosophies, values, and politics led each to select a particular mathematical formula to create their maps. Learn about the impact those…
Yellowstone: Microcosm of the National Parks
Start your tour of the geological wonders of North America's national parks with Yellowstone, where the breathtaking landscape inspired the idea of a national park. Focus on the processes that produce Yellowstone's many geothermal formations, particularly its geysers.
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.