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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Premiering tonight on PBS... The National Parks: America's Best Idea

Tonight, the Public Broadcasting System (better known as PBS) will premiere one of its greatest documentary series ever: The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

Produced by legendary filmmaker Ken Burns, the series tells a story of a progressive, characteristically American invention that has become popular around the world: the idea that our great beautiful and wild places should be protected and made accessible for the enjoyment of all as part of our common wealth.

As PBS describes it:
The narrative traces the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years. Using archival photographs, first-person accounts of historical characters, personal memories and analysis from more than 40 interviews, and what Burns believes is the most stunning cinematography in Florentine Films' history, the series chronicles the steady addition of new parks through the stories of the people who helped create them and save them from destruction. It is simultaneously a biography of compelling characters and a biography of the American landscape.

With 391 units (58 national parks, plus 333 national monuments and historic sites), the National Park Service has a presence in 49 of the 50 states (Delaware is the sole exception). Like the idea of freedom itself, the national park idea has been constantly tested, is constantly evolving and is inherently full of contradictory tensions: between individual rights and the community, the local and the national; between preservation and exploitation, the sacred and the profitable; between one generation's immediate desires and the next generation's legacy.
This truly promises to be a must-see series.

Readers, we encourage you to join us in tuning in tonight to catch the first installment of The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

The program ("The Scripture of Nature") will air tonight at 8 PM on:
  • KCTS Seattle (usually Channel 9)
  • KSPS Spokane (usually Channel 7)
  • KYVE Yakima (usually Channel 47)
  • KTNW Tri-Cities (usually Channel 31)
  • KWSU Pullman (usually Channel 10)
  • Oregon Public Broadcasting (Channel 10 in Portland, check other cities)
It looks like only KBTC is not planning to show the program, and since its coverage area overlaps with KCTS, viewers of that station can catch it on KCTS.

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