Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The National Parks: America's Best Idea
There was a documentary in 2009 made by Ken Burns about the National Parks in America. Have you seen it? The opening show made ratings history for PBS and was only surpassed recently by the finale of "Downton Abbey". The show itself had some marvelous footage of the parks themselves, but some of the so called "experts" left you feeling as if you were in a history class and wondering when the bell would ring. Here's the nice thing...one of the park rangers was the best part of that TV documentary and his name was Shelton Johnson. The video from Youtube shows this park ranger and it is only a short clip, so I hope you will watch it. I just read a review of the documentary and it said that Shelton Johnson turned out to be an "unexpected star" from this show. I agree, he was easily the most interesting. Shelton Johnson has now written a book and I noticed that you may purchase it from the Yosemite website, if you so desire. It is http://yosemitegifts.com/ And it looks as if he will sign it as well! (I must confess, I have a great fondness for books signed by the author!) His book is "Gloryland" and is a fictional memoir of a Black Indian from South Carolina who is assigned to protect Yosemite in 1903.
John Muir founded the Sierra Club in 1892 and was the key reason that Theodore Roosevelt was convinced to establish the National Park System. This is the link if you would like to read more about them. www.nationalparks.org
The Sierra Club, The Audubon Society, The Wilderness Society and The Arbor Day Foundation...these are some of the organizations that support the wild areas in this country. We are lucky in that we live close to what is designated as a National Heritage Area (Arabia Mountain). It is not a national park, but it is protected land and is open to all. There is much more that I would like to say about our National Parks and the men who helped to bring them about...but I don't want any of you listening for that bell to ring, so I will save the rest of what I want to say for the next post. And Jane, spit out that gum!