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National Parks

Item #43 on the list is watch Ken Burns documentary on the National Park system. All 12 hours of it

This is one of the most educational films that I have ever seen. Each episode taught me countless things about our country’s history and the National Parks that I had no idea of before. I considered myself fairly well versed in National Parks beforehand. I had studied a few and visited one or two. I had no idea how much has gone into preserving all of these wonderful places…or how many there actually are. My weekend in Yosemite was nothing compared to how much I want to learn now.

A few of my favorite people popped in and out, John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, but I wasn’t prepared for the dozens more whose stories were featured and are now counted among my heroes. I also was extremely surprised to learn how fierce a fight that it was to set aside these gorgeous places. What I consider to be a pretty amazing program has been the root of protests, violence and threats on rangers lives. I have never had to rely on the land to provide for my family or living and now can understand what a threat that a park would be to that life. That being said…I am forever grateful to the people that stood up for the National Parks for the enjoyment of all and future generations.

While parts of the documentary you can fall asleep, (especially if you have a sleeping one year old in your arms) but I just went back and picked up where I left off. As with some of the other films I have seen of Ken Burns you have to be prepared to concentrate and willing to stay alert while watching. It is really difficult if you have any distractions. I don’t know if it’s the peaceful grandfatherly narrators or the soothing music playing in the background, but it will easily send you to Nigh-Night if your not careful. The one beneficial side effect is your dreams will be full of adventures of exploring the most beautiful places in the country.

I am learning that this list and my journey through it is becoming less and less about me and more to do with my son Robby. All of these things are things that I want him to have the opportunity to do and maybe by seeing that his old man did some things that he will grow up with the belief that he really can do anything. I am promising my young son to take him and explore these places so that they are more than a television show. I want to walk with him through Yellowstone, Yosemite, Canyonlands and Denali. I want to see his face when he sees Half Dome, Old Faithful, Mt. Rushmore, or any other National treasure. I want to learn with him how they were created, why they are here, and why we chose to protect them.

I would recommend that anyone with any interest in the National Parks or American history for that matter check out this documentary. Why slowed paced than most things that I enjoy it really was worth my time at the end.

And just like that…another thing is crossed off. And look out Ken, I’m taking on the Baseball doc soon.

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