This Sunday, millions of Americans will sit down to watch The National Parks: America's Best Idea -- a six-part series that acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has worked on for the past ten years. Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope, who previewed the series with President Obama and others at the White House last week, describes it as "the epic story of how we became Americans by recognizing what was precious and unique about our own country -- and choosing to preserve it."
The Sierra Club, of course, has been an integral part of that story, and our members are proud of our historic role in both creating America's national parks and protecting the irreplaceable treasures they encompass. The beauty of our parks should inspire us to redouble our efforts to preserve and protect them. That's why, during the weeks that The National Parks: America's Best Idea is airing, we'll be launching 100,000 Champions for National Parks.
Stay tuned for the series and for your chance to champion our "Best Idea."
The National Parks: America's Best Idea won't be broadcast with an audio commentary by the director, but you can get the next best thing by listening to Orli Cotel's interview with filmmaker Ken Burns on Sierra Club Radio.
Why did he spend ten years working on this project? "Every American is a co-owner of the most spectacular seafront property, the most beautiful mountain ranges, the highest free-falling waterfall on the continent, the greatest collection of geysers on this planet, and the grandest canyon on Earth. And, as co-owners we ought to, every once in a while, go visit this property of ours, make sure it's been taken care of, and then put it in our will for posterity so it's around for our children's children."
We have a hunch that after millions of people rediscover our national parks on PBS they'll start hankering to have a firsthand look at some of that spectacular property they co-own.
Whether your visit to a national park is a once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage or a regular weekend outing, you'll want to check out our tips on how to get the most out of your visit with the least hassle (and expense).
"The people who live where I did in Pakistan and Afghanistan are not likely to have these experiences, so I should use them to enlighten myself and make something great of my life." -- Parwana Mohammad
As Ken Burns points out in his Sierra Club Radio interview, not everyone takes equal advantage of their co-ownership of our national parks.
Here are the stories of Americans from groups that are underrepresented among park visitors -- from a teenager born in Afghanistan to an African-American high school administrator.
What they share in common: Their lives have been changed by our national parks.
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