The National Parks


The Last Refuge (1890-1915)

By the end of the 19th century, widespread industrialization has left many Americans worried about whether the country will have any pristine land left. Congress has yet to establish clear judicial authority or appropriations for the protection of the parks. This sparks a conservation movement by organizations such as the Sierra Club, the Audubon Society, and the Boone and Crockett Club.

AIRED: April 25, 2016 | 2:13:24

Announcer: Our national parks belong to all of us.

They are places of discovery, they are places of inspiration,

they are America's best idea.

Major funding provided by: the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.

Additional funding was provided

by the Park Foundation in support

of a clean and healthy environment;

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations--

dedicated to strengthening America's future

through education;

the National Park Foundation,

the official charity of America's national parks;

the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation;

the Pew Charitable Trusts;

by General Motors;

by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting;

and by generous contributions to this PBS station

from viewers like you.

Thank you.

Bank of America is proud to be

exclusive corporate underwriter

for the films of Ken Burns

and hopes you enjoy this encore presentation.

MAN: One of the last jobs I had in Yellowstone was

delivering the mail on snowmobile.

There I was in the world'sfirst national park, and I

remember going down into Hayden Valley.

There were bison crossing over the road--2,000-pound mammals

crossing over the road, and it was so cold.

It was about 60 below zero.

And the bison, as theybreathed, their exhalation

would seem to crystallize inthe air around them, and there

were these sheets, theseropey stands of crystals kind

of flowing down from their breath.

And I saw them, and they justmoved their heads and were

looking at me, and I rememberthinking that if I had not

been on that machine, I wouldhave thought I had been thrust

fully back into the Pleistocene, back into

the Ice Age.

And I remember juststopping and turning it off

because the only way you couldhear was to turn that thing

off, and I would turn it off,and I would listen, and I felt

like this was the first day...

and this morning was the first time the sun had ever come up

and the shadows that are beingcast right now is the first

time those shadows haveever been cast on the earth.

And I was all alone, but Ifelt I was in the presence

of everything around me and I was never alone.

It was one of those momentswhen you get pulled outside

of yourself into the environment around you,

and I felt like I was justwith the breath of the bison

as they were exhaling and I was exhaling and they

were inhaling.

It was all kind of flowingtogether, and I forgot

completely about the mail.

All I was thinking of was that a single moment

in a place as wild as Yellowstone, and most

of the national parks, can last forever.

PETER COYOTE: In 1883, a youngpolitician, the second son

of a prominent New YorkCity family, became alarmed

about reports that the vastherds of buffalo that had once

blanketed the Great Plainswere quickly disappearing.

So he hurried west on the Northern Pacific Railroad

and got off when he reachedthe heart of the badlands

in the Dakota territory.

[Train whistle blows]

His name was Theodore Roosevelt.

He was 24 years old, and hewas afraid the buffalo would

become extinct before hegot the chance to shoot one.

He hired a local guide andendured days of rough travel

by horseback until he finallycame across a solitary buffalo

bull, killed it, and thenremoved its head for shipment

back to New York to be mounted on his wall.

MAN: Roosevelt loved to kill.

He liked to shoot quadrupeds.

At times he basically saidhe didn't trust Americans who

wouldn't hunt, and he hinted that he didn't believe that

Americans should have citizenship who weren't

willing to kill a quadruped.

COYOTE: That first trip to thewest, Roosevelt said later,

was an important turning point for him.

Over the next several years,he would return again

and again to take more huntingtrips into the mountains,

to ranch on the open plains,to build up his health

and character by pursuing what he called "the strenuous life,"

to become, in his own words,"at heart as much a Westerner

as I am an Easterner."

Roosevelt would never lose hislove of hunting, but in time

he would learn that there weremuch bigger and more important

trophies to pursue.


WOMAN: Our national parksare an idea, an idea based

on generosity--not just forour own species, but

for all species.

I think that is profoundlyoriginal in terms of a people

that say, we value wild nature in place.

We are of this place.

And I think it's our own declaration of both

independence and interdependence.

MAN: The great wilds of ourcountry, once held to be

boundless and inexhaustible,are being rapidly invaded

and overrun in every direction, and everything

destructible in them is being destroyed.

How far destruction may gois not easy to guess.

Every landscape, low and high,seems doomed to be trampled

and harried.

John Muir.

COYOTE: As the 19th centuryentered its final decade,

Americans began to takestock of what they had made

of the continent they had been so busily subduing.

Only 50 years earlier,the nation's western border

had been the spine of the Rocky Mountains.

Buffalo numbering in the tens of millions teemed

on the Great Plains.

Vast forests had never heard the ring of an ax.

Indian peoples stilledcontrolled most of the west.

[Train whistle blowing]

Now the nation stretchedall the way to the Pacific.

Railroads had pushed intoevery corner of the country.

Indians had beensystematically dispossessed

from their homelands and forced onto reservations.

White settlements had sprungup in so many places that the

director of the census of 1890announced he could no longer

find an American frontier.

The bountiful land ThomasJefferson considered nature's

nation had seemingly been conquered.

MAN: The moment that Americansstart setting aside these

national parks is also themoment of sort of the most

explosive exploitation of so many elements

of the national landscape.

It's the cutting down of the north woods

at an extraordinary rate.

It's the destruction of thebison herds, the elimination

of the passenger pigeons.

There is so much being destroyed in the name

of progress in the United States in the late 19th

century that the parks are akind of reaction against that.

They are saying, if we keepgoing the way we're going,

we're going to use it all up, and some of this is

so beautiful, so essential towho we are as a people that

we've got to put walls aroundthese parts and protect them

from ourselves.

COYOTE: By 1890, the UnitedStates has established 4

national parks: Yellowstone, the world's first; the high

country of Yosemite; and two groves of big trees

in California--General Grant and Sequoia.

The army had recently been placed in charge

of protecting them all.


Nonetheless, park wildlifewere still routinely killed.

Cows and sheep still overgrazed park meadows.

Ancient forests were still endangered.

And tourists seemed intenton squandering the treasures

a previous generation had bequeathed them.

The rk idea, not yet a quarter century old,

still seemed an uncertain experiment.

The issues of what was permissible and proper

for people who visited theparks were still unresolved.

But as a new century was about to dawn, a handful

of Americans began to questionthe headlong rush that had

caused so much devastationand saw in the national parks

a seed of hope that at leastsome pristine places could be

saved before it was too late.

Among them would be the youngassemblyman from New York City

who had gone west on a boyishimpulse but who would mature

into a president whose mostlasting legacy was rescuing

large portions of America from destruction.

MAN: Surely our people do notunderstand even yet the rich

heritage that is theirs.

There can be nothing in theworld more beautiful than

the Yosemite, the groves ofgiant sequoias and redwoods,

the canyon of the Yellowstone,the canyon of the Colorado,

the Three Tetons.

And our people should see toit that they are preserved

for their children and their children's children forever

with their majestic beauty all unmarred.

DIFFERENT MAN: Dear reader,

today I'm in the YellowstonePark, and I wish I were dead.

The park is just a howlingwilderness of 3,000 square

miles, full of all imaginablefreaks of a fiery nature.

I have been through the parkin a buggy in the company of

an adventurous old lady fromChicago and her husband,

who disapproved of the scenery as being ungodly.

I fancy it scared them.

Rudyard Kipling.

COYOTE: In 1889, RudyardKipling, a young Englishman

and aspiring writer, was making his first tour

of the United States, financing the trip by

writing dispatches for newspapers overseas.

Like many foreigners, Kiplingcould not resist stopping

at Yellowstone, a placealready known around the world

as the wonderland.

Most visitors in those dayswere well-to-do, able to pay

the $120 train fare acrossthe continent to the remote

northwestern corner of Wyoming and then $40 more

for the 5-day stagecoach tripthrough the park known as

the grand tour.

The first stop was the hotelat Mammoth Hot Springs,

where everyone unpackedquickly and then rushed to buy

souvenirs and post cardsmade by the park's resident

photographer, Frank J. Haynes.

Many guests were perfectlycontent to view the Mammoth

Springs from the comfort ofthe hotel veranda, but some

bought guide books and hiked up to the terraces

for a closer look.

MAN AS RUDYARD KIPLING: I found a basin which some

learned hotelkeeper haschristened Cleopatra's Pitcher

or Mark Antony's Whiskey Jugor something equally poetical.

I do not know the depth of that wonder.

The eye looked down intoan abyss that communicated

directly with the central fires of the earth.

The ground rings hollow as akerosene tin, and someday the

Mammoth Hotel, guests and all,will sink into the caverns

below and be turned into a stalactite.

COYOTE: In the morning,the passengers loaded back

into their assigned carriagesand one by one set off toward

the park's interior, spacedabout every 500 yards to

lessen the effects of dustthat clung in the air, Kipling

wrote, as dense as a fog.

He was bemused by his fellowtourists, especially the older

woman from Chicago sittingnext to him, who chewed gum

and talked constantly,pontificating with her husband

on everything theyencountered, especially once

they reached the first geyser area.

MAN AS RUDYARD KIPLING:The old lady, regarding the

horrors of the fire holes,could only say "Good Lord!"

at 30-second intervals.

"And if," continued the oldlady," if we find a thing

"so dreadful as all that steamand sulfur allowed on the face

"on the earth, mustn't webelieve there is something

"10,000 times more terrible below,

"prepared for our destruction?"

COYOTE: At noon, they stoppedat a tent hotel, a place

called Larry's, run byLarry Matthews, a friendly

and loquacious Irishmanknown for lavishing special

attention on his gentille guests.

MAN AS RUDYARD KIPLING: Larryenveloped us all in the golden

glamour of his speech, 'ere we had descended.

And the tent with the rudetrestle table became a palace,

the rough fare became delicacies

of Delmonico's, and we, the abashed recipients

of Larry's imperial bounty.

shillings for tinned beef,biscuits, and paid

COYOTE: Like the other establishments within

the water in Yellowstoneagedwas impregnated with sulfur

and therefore unfit for drinking.

It was untrue, but itboosted sales of mineral water

and beer at the inflatedprice of 50 cents a bottle

and created roadsides littered with empties.

When the parade ofstagecoaches reached the lower

geyser basin, the touristsencamped for two nig"Qs

at the Fire Hole Hotel,or later, the more luxurious

Fountain Hotel, built at acost of $100,000 and capable

of handling 350 guests,complete with electric lights,

steam heat, and hot baths fedby one of the thermal springs.

The next two days of the grand tour were devoted exclusively

to visiting the spectaculararray of geysers and thermal

pools and fumaroles, the largest concentration

of them in the world.

Tourists would peer downthe throat of gaping holes

in the ground, taking theirchances that a geyser was not

about to erupt in their face.

They marveled at the beauty oftranslucent pools of turquoise

water, washed pieces of linenin Handkerchief Pool, which

turned the cloth white as snow.

MAN AS RUDYARD KIPLING: They are guarded by soldiers who

patrol with loaded six-shooters in order that the

tourists may not bring upfence-rails and sink them

in a pool or chip the frettedtracery of the formations

with a geological hammer or,walking where the crust is too

thin, foolishly cook himself.

COYOTE: No visit toYellowstone was considered

complete without seeing OldFaithful go off on schedule.

MAN AS RUDYARD KIPLING: Allthe young ladies remarked that

it was elegant and betookthemselves to writing their

names in the bottoms of shallow pools.

Nature fixes the insultindelibly, and the after-years

will learn that Hattie, Sadie,Mamie, Sophie, and so forth

have taken out their hairpinsand scrawled in the face

of Old Faithful.

COYOTE: The last night in thepark was spent at a hotel near

the majestic Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The view from its edge wasconsidered the inspirational

grand finale.

Even the cynical Rudyard Kipling was impressed.

MAN AS RUDYARD KIPLING: AllI can say is that without

warning or preparation, I looked into a gulf 1,700

feet deep with eaglesand fish hawks circling far

below, and the sides of thatgulf were one wild welter

of color--crimson, emerald,cobalt, ocher, amber, honey

splashed with port wine,snow white, vermillion, lemon,

and silver-gray in wide washes.

So far below that no soundof its strife could reach us,

the Yellowstone River ran,a finger-wide strip

of jade green.

Now I know what it is to sitenthroned amid the clouds

of sunset.

COYOTE: The final dayconsisted of a stagecoach ride

back to the start of the tour,lunch once more at Larry's,

shouting out the names of their home states

and countries to passingwagons filled with fresh loads

of tourists heading into thepark, dinner at the hotel

at Mammoth Hot Springs,then on to the train waiting

at the station to carry themand their memories away.

MAN AS RUDYARD KIPLING: "Andto think," said the old lady

from Chicago, "that this showplace has been going

"on all these days, and none of we ever saw it."

Rudyard Kipling.

MAN: Those first fewyears--and maybe this was OK

because there were so few visitors--but it was

just wide open.

Yellowstone were very quicklyoteaching the managers what

wasn't gonna work.

Nobody knew how to act in a national park.

It hadn't been decided yet.

COYOTE: Having created thenational parks, Congress had

not seen fit to provide somekind of authority to oversee

them, and in 1886, it evenrefused to appropriate any

money whatsoever.

General Phillip Sheridan hadbeen forced to send the U.S.

Cavalry into Yellowstone simply to maintain some

semblance of order.

By the 1890s, this temporary arrangement had

become permanent.

Up to 4 troops of cavalrywere stationed at the newly

constructed Fort Yellowstonenear the Mammoth Hot Springs.

SCHULLERY: I think the oddsare really good that if

the army hadn't been sent in, Yellowstone wouldn't

have made it.

that people would put theiraddress, too, and the soldiers

could just very simply goout and write them all down,

head back to the hotel,and look through the hotel

registers and find thesepeople and drag them by the

collar back out so they couldspend some time scrubbing

their name off.

COYOTE: The army was expectedto patrol 2 million acres

on horseback, doing their bestto stop poachers and vandals

and campers careless with their fires.

But the troopers were hamperedby the fact that the federal

park existed in a legal no man's land.

Usually their only recoursewas a warning, or in the most

serious cases, expulsion from the park.

Army engineers built andimproved the roads and bridges

that guided travel within thepark to the places tourists

wanted to see, while leavingmajor portions of Yellowstone

a roadless and totally wild expanse.

With the tourists gone, the cavalrymen found

themselves holed up in small cabins scattered

around the park, patrollingfor poachers on skis in frigid

temperatures and lethal snowstorms.

Frederick Remington, when hevisited and traveled with

the soldiers in Yellowstone,said that they were very fond

of saying that Yellowstonehad 3 seasons: July, August,

and winter, and they hated it.

COYOTE: Men were losttransporting mail from one

isolated outpost to another.

They died in avalanches.

Some may have been killedby poachers, who were often

better equipped and moreexperienced at maneuvering

through the back country in deep snow.

MAN: In my last report,I noted the death of Private

Matthews of Troop B,6th Cavalry, while on detached

service for the mail.

A most thorough search for his remains was continued

for almost 6 months after his disappearance.

His body was found early in June.

It was evident that hebecame lost and while in that

condition became crazedand perished from the cold.

Captain George Anderson.

COYOTE: The cavalry was also in charge of the nation's 3

other national parks--GeneralGrant, Sequoia, and the high

country surrounding Yosemite.

Each spring, troops stationedat the Presidio in San

Francisco would make the2-week, 250-mile ride to the

Sierras and patrol the 3 parksduring the summer season.

Some of them were African Americans, the celebrated

buffalo soldiers of the 9thand 10th Cavalry who had made

a name for themselves in the Indian wars.

Their commander was CaptainCharles Young, born into

slavery in Kentucky, whosefather had escaped bondage

during the Civil War to enlist in the Union Army.

Young followed his father'sexample of military service,

becoming the third black man to graduate from West Point

and the first to be put incharge of a national park.

an African AmericanJOHNofficer--an officer--

that stays in your mind,

and it also sparks a fire inyour own sense of self-worth,

your own sense of what is possible in this world,

because you might say to yourself, "If he could do

"that, maybe I could do that as well."

So he was a walkinginspiration to the enlisted

men in the 9th and 10th Cavalry.

COYOTE: As superintendent of Sequoia, Young directed his

men to complete the first wagon road into

the Giant Forest.

They accomplished more inone summer than had been done

in the 3 previous years combined.

They built the first trail to Mt. Whitney,

the highest peak inthe west, and erected fences

around the big trees toprevent vandalism by visitors.

JOHNSON: So the earlyparks--Yellowstone, Sequoia,

and Yosemite--you had to have park protectors

because otherwise, people would be going into those

areas doing what they'vealways done--cutting trees

down, you know, for firewood,or shooting the game, shooting

the deer to feed their family.

How do you tell someone who'sjust trying to keep their

children fed, not hungry, that it's illegal now to

shoot the game in Yosemiteor in Sequoia National Park?

And that would be a difficultproposition if you were

a white soldier, but when youadd that overlay of race,

which is no overlay at all,and you have an African

American, a colored man,giving orders to people who

are not used to taking ordersfrom anyone who looks like me,

then you have the beginningof a very interesting day.

COYOTE: Like theircounterparts at Yellowstone,

the troops in California hadto operate without clear legal

authority and thereforeinvented techniques to protect

their parks.

When they collected travelers'rifles upon entry and only

returned them when thevisitors left, the wildlife

began to come back.

Sheep herders defiantlybringing their flocks into the

park's alpine meadows had beenopenly scornful of the troops,

once they realized that thearmy had no power of criminal

arrest and prosecution.

The soldiers then came up with a creative solution.

JOHNSON: It was a standard rule.

You find the sheep that aregrazing illegally in the park,

and you move the sheep outto the eastern boundary

of the park.

You find the sheepherders, and you move them out the

western boundary of the park.

Now, the park in those days was 1,500

square miles, so by the time the sheep

and the sheep herders werereunited, well, let's just say

the season was done, and ifyou have a business and your

business is herding sheep andthat happens to you more than

once or twice, you don't comeback, and I think that was

a pretty effective way ofdealing with illegal grazing

in the park.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: For manyyears, the military have guarded

the great Yellowstone Park,and now they are guarding

the Yosemite.

They found it a desert as far as underbrush, grass,

and flowers were concerned,but in two years, the skin

of the mountains is healthy again.

Blessings on Uncle Sam's soldiers.

They have done their job well, and every pine tree is waving

its arm for joy.

COYOTE: No one was more thankful for the army's

presence than John Muir,for whom the Sierra Nevada was

the range of light--mountains,he wrote, "that were throbbing

"and pulsing with the heartbeats of God."

WOMAN: I think John Muirunderstood, as perhaps no one

else has, how essential beautyis--natural beauty is to us.

Without beauty, we have no, kind of, lubrication

of the human spirit.

We would just be dead, andthat's really what drove him.

That's what fueled him.

COYOTE: Clambering ecstatically over

the mountainsides, Muir hadbecome a self-taught expert

in glaciers, a keen observerand lover of everything he

encountered, from the tiniestspecks of lichen on a rock to

the mighty sequoias.

And through his magazinearticles, he had emerged as

afor preserving the last aremaining vestiges

of America's virginforests and unspoiled lands.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: Mere destroyers--tree killers,

wool and mutton men,spreading death and confusion

in the fairest groves and gardens ever planted.

Let the government hasten to cast them out and make

an end of them.

Any fool can destroy trees.

They cannot run away.

And if they could, they wouldstill be destroyed--chased

and hunted down as long as funor a dollar could be got out

of their bark hides.

Through all the wonderful,eventful centuries since

Christ's time and long beforethat, God has cared for these

trees, saved them fromdrought, disease, avalanches,

and a thousand straining,leveling tempests and floods,

but he cannot save them from fools.

Only Uncle Sam can do that.

COYOTE: Yosemite's highcountry had been designated

a national park in 1890,but the valley itself remained

under the control of aCalifornia state commission

and their political appointees, a group

of "blundering, plundering,moneymaking vote sellers,"

Muir said.

He wanted it all transferred back to

the federal government.

Only then, he believed,would it be safe from ruin.

In 1892, to help promote Yosemite's protection,

Muir and a small group ofprominent Californians formed

a new organization.

They called it the Sierra Club.

Muir enthusiastically agreedto serve as its president,

hoping, he said, that "wewill be able to do something

"for wildness and make the mountains glad."

[Scattered applause]

MAN: In the 19th century,when the census bureau would

do its census, it would draw aline that's the frontier line,

and prouof it had thischeswestwardwonderful phrase.ition

It would say, in the last10 years, this many million

of acres have been "redeemed from wilderness by

"the hand of man."

"Redeemed from wilderness by the hand of man."

In other words, a virgin forest is redeemed when it's cut down.

A beautiful mountain stream isredeemed when the miners are

turned loose in it.

That symbolized what ourview of nature was as we were

rushing across the continent.

That's totally the oppositeof what John Muir would say.

Wilderness isn't redeemed by man.

Man is redeemed by wilderness.

MAN: To know you are the firstto set foot in homes that have

been deserted for centuriesis a strange feeling.

It is as though unseen eyeswatched, wondering what aliens

were invading their sanctuaries and why.

The dust of centuries filled the rooms and rose in thick

clouds at every movement.

Al Wetherill.

COYOTE: A few months beforeRudyard Kipling visited

Yellowstone, cowboyssearching for stray cattle

in southwestern Colorado, along the edge of a high

plateau known as Mesa Verde, came upon the ruins

of an ancient city tucked into the side of a cliff.

Using a tree trunk and theirlariats, they improvised

a ladder and descended for a closer look.

MAN AS AL WETHERILL: It waslike treading holy ground to

go into those peaceful-lookinghomes of a vanished people.

Things were arranged in therooms as if people might just

have been out visiting somewhere.

COYOTE: In quick succession,they soon came across even

more ruins nestled into theremote canyon walls of Mesa

Verde and gave names to them all.

Cliff Palace.

Spruce Tree House.

Balcony House.

It was the largest concentration ever found

of the cliff dwellings--built, occupied, and then

mysteriously deserted nearly athousand years earlier by

the ancestors of some of themodern Pueblo Indians

of the southwest.

MAN AS AL WETHERILL: We knewthat if we did not break into

that charmed world, someoneelse would sometime--someone

who might not love and respectthose emblems of antiquity

as we did.

COYOTE: The cowboys whodiscovered the ruins were the

Wetherills--5 brothers froma family of Quakers who had

moved to Colorado from Kansas 8 years earlier.

The oldest was Richard,who encouraged them all to

spend every free moment digging among the ruins,

hoping to sell their discoveries to museums

in big cities.

MAN AS AL WETHERILL: We hadstarted in as just ordinary


but as work progressed alongthat sort of questionable

business, we developed quite abit of scientific knowledge by

careful work and comparisons.

COYOTE: One day a strangershowed up, a young Swedish

nobleman with an interest in archaeology--

Gustaf Nordenskiold.

When the Wetherills showedhim the ruins, his enthusiasm,

one of the brothersremembered, increased almost

beyond his control.

For two months, from sunup tosundown, he kept the Wetherill

brothers busy, teaching themmore scientific methods.

He showed them how to use a mason's trowel instead

of a spade, digging slowly andcarefully to reveal a relic

without damaging it.

He insisted on labeling andphotographing everything

and often saved items thatno other archaeologist

of the time would have kept--wood ash from fire pits,

dust and trash from the floors, even dried pieces

of human excrement that oneday might help determine what

the ancient Puebloans had been eating so long ago.

In all,he amassed hundreds of items

which he intended to ship home to Sweden.

But when his pack animals,loaded down with artifacts,

reached the railway stationin Durango, Nordenskiold was

immediately arrested.

MAN: The basic problem was,

this foreigner is stealing our

relics, our bowls, our pots,

and we're not gonna allow that.

It's all right for we Americans to steal them,

but it's not all right forthose foreigners to do it.

Gustaf's lawyer asked thejudge, under what law are we

arresting him?

And there was no law.

There was no law at all,so they couldn't stop him.

They couldn't stop anybody,and that probably sparked some

interest--why isn't there a law?

COYOTE: Nordenskiold wasreleased and got to take his

huge shipment home to Scandinavia, where he

published the first scientificstudy of the cliff dwellers.

But the controversy hadbrought worldwide attention to

Mesa Verde and to the factthat its treasures were

completely unprotected.

MAN: We have seen the Indian and the game retreat before

the white man and thecattle and beheld the tide

of immigration move forwardwhich threatens before long to

leave no portion of our vastterritory unbroken by the

farmer's plow or untrodden by his flocks.

There is one spot left--asingle rock about which this

tide will break and past whichit will sweep, leaving it

undefiled by the unsightlytraces of civilization.

Here in this Yellowstone Park,the large game of the west may

be preserved from extermination in this,

their last refuge.

George Bird Grinnell.

COYOTE: By the 1890s,few Americans understood as

keenly as George BirdGrinnell, the editor and owner

of "Forest and Stream" magazine, how fearful

the price had been for thenation's relentless expansion

across the continent.

RaisJohn James Audubon at thefamonorth end of Manhattan,

Grinnell could rememberspotting a bald eagle from his

bedroom window and watchingimmense flocks of passenger

pigeons darkening the sky fromhorizon to horizon as they

passed overhead.

Traveling across Kansas, he had once encountered

a buffalo herd so vast thathis train was forced to stop

for 3 hours while thebeasts crossed the tracks.

He had hunted elk in Nebraskawhen elk could still be found

on the plains, ridden withthe Pawnees in a great buffalo

chase as the Indians broughtdown their prey with bows

and arrows.

Now all that and so muchmore suddenly seemed gone or

on the verge of disappearing.

Passenger pigeons had beenso systematically killed that

a bird once numbering in thehundreds of millions had been

reduced to a handful, and soonthe death of a solitary bird

in a Cincinnati zoo would bring an end to

the species' existence.

The hide-hunters had been equally effective

with the buffalo.

By the mid-1880s, the last ofthe great free-roaming herds

had been slaughtered.

Now the only wild herd left inthe country was in Yellowstone

National Park, estimated atonly a few hundred animals.

MAN AS GEORGE BIRD GRINNELL:For 4 centuries, we have been

killing and marketing game,destroying it as rapidly

and as thoroughly as we knewhow, and making no provision

toward replacing the supply.

We are just beginning toask one another how we may

preserve the little that remains for ourselves

and our children.

COYOTE: Grinnell regularly used the pages of "Forest

and Stream" to try to pointAmericans in a new direction.

It wasn't that he was against hunting.

In fact, he loved to hunt.

Grinnell just feared that without wise management,

there would be nothingleft for hunters to shoot.

He proposed the creation ofa new organization aimed

at stopping the heedless killing of wild birds,

"in honor," Grinnell wrote,"of the man who did more to

"teach Americans about birds of their own land than any other

"who ever lived."

He named the group The Audubon Society.

And when Grinnell publisheda mildly critical review

of Theodore Roosevelt's book chronicling his own western

adventures, the young authorburst into Grinnell's office

to confront him.

The two men turned the awkwardmoment into the beginning

of a lasting friendship andtogether formed the Boone

and Crockett Club to promote what they called "the manly

"sport of hunting."

DUNCAN: But Grinnell hadother, larger issues in mind

that he wanted to steer TeddyRoosevelt toward, and I think

over time he became somethingof a mentor to Roosevelt,

of taking this energetic guy,this guy who was a political

star, a rising political star,and gradually pointing him

in directions that wereclearly in Roosevelt's heart

but needed that little tiltfrom George Bird Grinnell to

bring them to fruition.

COYOTE: As president of thenew club, Theodore Roosevelt

was increasingly drawn intoGrinnell's battles, including

the longstanding crusade tokeep Yellowstone as pristine

as possible.

It was a constant fight.

There were repeated attemptsin Congress to reduce

the park's size or open it up to greater

commercial exploitation.

Roosevelt helped defeat them all.

But despite those successes,there was still no federal law

giving Yellowstone'scaretakers clear authority to

protect its wildlife,including its dwindling herd

of wild buffalo.

On March 13, 1894, two troopers out

on patrol in Yellowstoneheard shots in the distance

and hurried in that direction.


Soon they came acrossseveral buffalo carcasses.

A man was hunched over one ofthem, so busily skinning it

that he didn't realize thetroopers were there until one

of them was beside him with a drawn gun.

The poacher was Edgar Howell,and he had been methodically

killing as many buffalos ashe could, planning to haul out

their heads for sale to a Montana taxidermist.

As luck would have it,a reporter named Emerson Hough

on assignment for "Forest andStream," was also in the park

with a photographer to do anarticle about Yellowstone

in the winter.

When the poacher bragged thatthe worst punishment he could

receive for his crime was expulsion from the park

and the loss of only 26dollars' worth of equipment,

Hough realized he had stumbledonto a great story and quickly

telegraphed it to Grinnell in New York City.

Grinnell knew just what to do with it.

SCHULLERY: Grinnell just pulled out all the stops.

He ran the story in "Forest and Stream."

He was in contact witheverybody he knew who might be

able to wake up, you know,the sleeping giant,

the American public, andmake them care about this,

and he succeeded.

COYOTE: Within a week,legislation was working its

way through Congress,authorizing regulations that

would finally protect the park, its geysers,

and its wildlife.

On May 7, 1894, less than twomonths after Howell's capture,

President Grover Cleveland signed the bill into law.

[Birds chirping]

SCHULLERY: George Bird Grinnell and Theodore Roosevelt

and the other defenders of Yellowstone were thinking

in ecosystem terms beforeanybody was using the term.

They saw places likeYellowstone as reservoirs.

They used the term "reservoir."

It was a reservoir for wildlife.

of Howell had been missed,we would have lost the bison.

They were so close to gone.

MAN: Gentlemen, why in heaven's name this haste?

You have time enough.

Why sacrifice the present tothe future, fancying that you

will be happier when your fields teem with wealth

and your cities with people?

In Europe, we have citieswealthier and more populous

than yours, and we are not happy.

You dream of your posterity,but your posterity will look

back to yours as the goldenage and envy those who first

burst into this silent,splendid nature, who first

lifted up their axes uponthese tall trees and lined

these waters with busy wharves.

Why, then, seek to complete, in a few decades, what took

the other nations of the world thousands of years?

Why, in your hurry to subdueand utilize nature, squander

her splendid gifts?

You have opportunity such asmankind has never had before

and may never have again.

Lord James Bryce.

MAN: The first duty of thehuman race is to control

the earth it lives upon.

The first principle ofconservation is development,

the use of natural resourcesnow existing on this continent

for the benefit of the people who live here now.

Gifford Pinchot.

COYOTE: Gifford Pinchot wasa graduate of Yale who had

studied forestry in Germanyand France and returned as

the first American to declare himself

a professional forester.

He and John Muir had met in1896 and in the beginning

enjoyed each other's company,camping together on the rim

of the Grand Canyon.

But while the two men agreed that America's forests were

being rapaciously destroyed,they ultimately parted company

on the solution.

Muir considered forests sacred.

He wanted them treated asparks with logging, grazing,

and hunting prohibited.

Pinchot didn't agree.

He wanted forests protected,too, but he believed the best

way to do it was to managetheir use, not leave them alone.

His favorite saying was "the greatest good

"for the greatest number."

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: Much issaid on questions of this kind

about the greatest good for the greatest number,

but the greatest number is too often found to be number one.

It is never the greatestnumber in the common meaning

of the term that makes thegreatest noise and stir

on questions mixed with money.

Complaints are made in the name of poor settlers

and miners, while the wealthy corporations are kept

carefully hidden in the background.

Let right, commendableindustry be fostered, but as

to these Goths and Vandals of the wilderness who are

spreading black death in thefairest woods God ever made,

let the government up and at 'em.

CRONON: We often tell stories about the origins

of the American conservationmovement by setting John Muir

and Gifford Pinchot incounterpoint with each other.

Often in those stories, John Muir is the hero

and Gifford Pinchot is the villain.

In fact, they represent, I think, two sides of one coin.

Muir is the figure who celebrates the sacred

in nature--the wildness, the otherness of nature,

that which we need to protectif we are not to contaminate

things that are nonhumanwith our own human agendas.

Pinchot, on the other hand,is about a conservation that

celebrates sustainability.

It's about keeping theroots of our material lives

in the natural world in such a way that we don't destroy

nature as we use nature for our own livelihood.

COYOTE: Congress and theadministration of President

Grover Cleveland sided withPinchot, who was appointed

the nation's chief forester.

National forests wouldbecome part of the Department

of Agriculture, used and managed like a crop,

not preserved like a temple.

But if Muir could not prevailon the future of all national

forests, he tried to salvageat least a partial victory by

protecting one forest as a national park.

It was in westernWashington state within sight

of the cities of Seattle andTacoma, the ancient homeland

of nearly a dozen Indiantribes, including the Cowlitz,

Nisqually, Puyallup, and Yakima, who called it

Tahoma, the big mountain where the waters begin.

White settlers called it Mount Rainier.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: Altogether,this is the richest subalpine

garden I ever found, a perfect floral elysium.

The icy dome needs not a man'scare, but unless the reserve

is guarded, the flowerbloom will soon be killed,

and nothing of the forest will be left but black

stump monuments.

COYOTE: A broad coalition,including the Sierra Club,

the National Geographic Society, and the Northern

Pacific Railroad, worked hardwith Muir for more than 5

years, and on March 2, 1899,Mount Rainier became the

nation's fifth national park.

MAN: When on the streets Imeet young girls and matrons

with their kindly facesand see the egrets in their

bonnets and hats, I cannothelp feeling that these

daughters of Eve do not know how these feathers

were obtained.

These plumes only grow whilethe bird is rearing its young,

and I believe that if most ofthe women who wear them knew

they were obtained by shootingthe mother on her nest,

they would be ashamed tokeep them, even in secret,

much less to display them on the public streets.

John F. Lacey.

COYOTE: For centuries,the nation's greatest breeding

ground for its most beautifulplumed birds was southern

Florida, where the fresh waters of Lake Okeechobee

drained slowly toward the Gulfof Mexico, through cypress

swamps and mangrove forests and the biggest saw grass marsh

in the world, the Everglades.

and nearly 95% of Florida'sshorebirds had been killed by

More than 5 million birds ayear were perishing to satisfy

the demand of the latest fashion trend--using bird

feathers to decorate women's hats.

Strolling the streets of NewYork for part of an afternoon,

one ornithologist counted 542feathered hats, representing

40 different species.

Some hats included an entire stuffed bird.

MAN AS GEORGE BIRD GRINNELL:Fashion decrees feathers,

and feathers it is.

This condition of affairs mustbe something of a shock to

the leaders of the AudubonSociety, who were sanguine

enough to believe that the moral idea represented by

their movement would be enoughto influence society at large.

George Bird Grinnell.

COYOTE: The Audubon Societyhad done its best to try to

persuade women not to buy suchhats, even promoted the sale

of featherless hats calledAudubonetts decorated

with ribbons.

It didn't work, and the millenary industry, based

principally in New York City,used its influence in Congress

to defeat a series of national laws aimed at stopping

the slaughter.

Then an unlikely champion stepped forward.

MAN AS JOHN F. LACEY:We have a wireless telegraph,

a thornless cactus,

a seedless orange, and a coreless apple.

Let us now have a birdless hat.

John F. Lacey.

COYOTE: As the Republican party began fracturing

at the start of the 20thcentury into a progressive

wing and a group of die-hardconservatives known as

Stand-Pat Republicans,Representative John F. Lacey

of Oskaloosa, Iowa,counted himself with those

opposed to change.

But when it came to defendingwildlife or saving America's

remaining unspoiled lands, Lacey's definition

of conservative placed him notonly outside his fellow

Stand-Patters but in the vanguard of even

the most progressive politicians of the day.

MAN AS JOHN F. LACEY: The first settlers found this continent

a storehouse of energy andnational wealth, but we have

not been content with using these resources.

We have wasted them as reckless prodigals.

For more than 300 years, destruction was

called improvement.

Mankind must conserve theresources of nature, or the

world will, at no distant day, become as barren as

a sucked orange.

COYOTE: It had been Lacey,working with George Bird

Grinnell and TheodoreRoosevelt, who pushed through

the bill that finally gavegovernment officials the tools

they needed to protectAmerica's last wild buffalo

herd in Yellowstone.

Now, after years of ceaselesseffort, he won passage

of another landmark, the LaceyBird and Game Act of 1900.

Soon, government agents were confiscating huge shipments

of bird skins and feathers.

But the Lacey Act did notput an end to plume hunting

entirely, especially in the lawless Everglades.

5 years after the bill'spassage, a game warden was

murdered by poachers.

3 years after that,another one was gunned down.

Some people began thinkingthat the uniquely abundant

array of wildlife in southernFlorida would never be safe

unless the Evergladesitself was set aside, like

Yellowstone, as a national park.

MAN AS JOHN F. LACEY: The attempt to preserve and restore

some of the wildlife of America

is no longer looked uponas a fad or idle sentiment.

We have given an awful exhibition of slaughter

and destruction which may serve as a warning to

all mankind.

Let us now give an exampleof wise conservation of what

remains of the gifts of nature.

COYOTE: As America moved intoa new century, a new word--

conservation--had crept intothe nation's vocabulary.

Now a new president wouldturn the word into a movement.

MAN: Like all Americans, I like big things--big

prairies, big forests andmountains, big wheat fields,

railroads, and herds of cattle, too.

CRONON: I think it's hard to exaggerate the significance

of Theodore Roosevelt in the history

of American conservation.

He creates a presidency whenhe arrives in the White House

that sets in motion most ofthe conservation agendas that

will define the first halfof the 20th century.

MAN: The key to TeddyRoosevelt's leadership was his

passion, his audacity, the fact that he was

an inspiring public speakerand enjoyed leading the country.

He was a person who turnedthe country in a different

direction where conservation was concerned.

COYOTE: In the spring of 1903, Theodore Roosevelt once again

boarded a train headed west,and on April 8, he stepped off

at the Northern Pacificrailroad terminal just outside

of Yellowstone National Park.

He was no longer the scrawny and inexperienced Easterner

cowboys had laughed at and called "four-eyes"

20 years earlier.

He was a national hero,

the leader of the Rough Riders in the war with Spain,

a former governor of New York state,

President William McKinley's running mate in 1900,

and now, following McKinley's assassination in 1901,

the youngest president in United States history.

MAN: The president unites in himself

powers and qualities that rarely go together...

the qualities of a man of action

with those of a scholar and writer...

the instincts and accomplishments

of the best breeding and culture

with the broadest democratic sympathies.

He is doubtless the mostvital man on the continent,

if not on the planet, today.

John Burroughs.

COYOTE: Not since ThomasJefferson a century earlier

had there been an American president

with greater interest in the natural world.

JENKINSON: Roosevelt began his life as a naturalist.

He formed Theodore Roosevelt's Natural History Museum

as a child, and he was a taxidermist.

He would find snakes and mice and other creatures

and sometimes store them in the refrigerator,

the icebox of his family.

Several maids quit over this.

The house smelled of taxidermy. He had formaldehyde everywhere.

This was a young boy who was fascinated by

the idea of the museum and nature,

but all of this is preliminary.

It wasn't until he went out to Dakota in 1883

that Roosevelt really started to understand

what was at stake in the debate

about the future of nature in this country.

COYOTE: "When I hear aboutthe destruction of a species,"

he said, "I feel just as if the works

"of some great writer had perished."

JENKINSON: I think it can be said that Roosevelt invented

the national wildlife refuge system.

This was done by executive order alone.

A national park needs to be voted on

by a majority in two houses of Congress.

Roosevelt said to hisattorney general Philander Knox,

"Is there anything that would prevent me

"from naming Pelican Islandon the Indian River in Florida

"a national bird sanctuary?"

and Knox, the Attorney General, said, "No, nothing."

And so Roosevelt said, "I do declare it."

COYOTE: When Roosevelt arrived in Yellowstone,

he was in the middle of a national tour

unprecedented in its ambition.

14,000 grueling miles.

25 states. 150 towns and cities.

More than 200 speeches in the space of 8 weeks.

From the day he left Washington,

he had been looking forwardto some time off in Yellowstone,

and immediately upon his arrival,

he set off on horseback with the Army's

acting park superintendent as his host,

leaving the rest of the presidential

entourage behind,

including his staff, his Secret Service men,

his physician, and allthe reporters covering the trip.

"As far as the world at large is concerned,"

his private secretary told the press,

"The president will be lost."

Only John Burroughs,the popular nature writer,

was allowed to come along.

The summer tourist season was still two months away,

so Roosevelt had Yellowstoneessentially to himself.

He loved every minute of it.

He delighted in seeing so many animals--

herds of mule deer anwhitetails

and pronghorn antelope, flocks of bighorn sheep.

He watched an eagle swoop down

to try to capture a yearling elk,

saw cougars feasting on the carcasses of their prey,

spent 4 hours one afternoon

looking through his field glasses,

trying to count all the elk within sight,

ultimately estimating them to number 3,000.

On Easter morning, the President of the United States

insisted on leaving the campsite entirely on his own.

He tramped 18 miles over rough ground

in order to sneak up to within 50 yards

of another elk herd,

sat down on a rock, and gazed rapturously upon them

while he ate his lunch of hardtack and sardines.

One morning,President Roosevelt was shaving,

and he had lathered up his face with shaving cream,

and he was shaving himself in the wilderness

with a little mirror,

when somebody came in and said,

"There are bighorn sheep out there

"and they're coming down this cliff."

So, Roosevelt said, "By Godfrey, I have to see that,"

and he jumps up withhalf of his face clean-shaven

and the other half full of lather

and runs out into nature to see

the bighorn sheep coming downthis nearly sheer cliff.

And Burroughs said, "What kind of president is this?"

He's just an overgrown boy who'sso enthusiastic about nature

that it infects everyone around him

with a new enthusiasm for the natural world.

COYOTE: Roosevelt was witnessing firsthand

the results of the wildlife protection bill

he and George Bird Grinnelland Congressman John Lacey

had worked so hard to pass.

The game animals were now much more numerous,

he assured Burroughs,

than when he had last visitedthe park 12 years earlier.

Still, the president was itching to shoot something.

SCHULLERY: Roosevelt will alwaysbaffle people who don't hunt

because he both loved animals and loved hunting them,

and in Yellowstone,what he really wanted to do

was shoot a mountain lion.

At the time, park managerswere killing predators.

It was something that was going on anyway.

And so to Roosevelt's mind,"Well, why not me?"

COYOTE: The president's advisers thought

killing any animal in a national park

would be bad politics

and quietly dissuaded him.

including several days traveling tin a horse-drawn sleigh

to the park's interior,

still covered in some placesby up to 6 feet of snow.

He sand skied to the rim basin of the Grand Canyon

of the Yellowstone.

But these wonders heldonly passing interest to him

compared to the park's wildlife.

In addition to the larger animals,

he recorded sightings of pine squirrels

and snowshoe hares

and scores of different birds,

including a pygmy owl, the first he had ever seen.

"He responded with boyish glee," Burroughs wrote.

"I think the president was as pleased

"as if we had bagged some big game."

At one point, Roosevelt sees a mouse

that he thinks is new to science,

so he jumps off the sleighand grabs it with his hand

and kills it and then stuffs it.

MAN AS JOHN BURROUGHS: While we all went fishing

in the afternoon, the president skinned his mouse

and prepared the pelt for Washington.

It was done as neatly as a professed taxidermist

would have done it.

This was the only game the president killed

in the park.

John Burroughs.

COYOTE: On April 24, at the end of Roosevelt's visit,

the entire population ofthe town of Gardiner, Montana,

gathered at the park's north entrance

for a special ceremony.

A new arch to welcome visitors to Yellowstone

was under construction,

and the president had agreed to speak

at the layingof the arch's cornerstone.

For the occasion, Roosevelt reluctantly

changed out of his camping clothes,

put on a business suit,

and rode through town to the awaiting crowd.

He watched as the cornerstonewas carefully put into place,

then climbed to a rough platform

on the stonework of the incomplete pillar

and began to speak.


is something absolutely unique in the world,

so far as I know.

This park was created and is now administered

for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.

The scheme of its preservation

is noteworthy in its essential democracy.

The only way that the people as a whole

can secure to themselves and their children

the enjoyment in perpetuity

of what the Yellowstone park has to give

is by assuming ownership in the name of the nation

and jealously safeguarding and preserving

the scenery, the forests, and the wild creatures.

JENKINSON: Roosevelt argued that the parks

are a democratic experience.

That was his essential argument about the national parks,

that the rich peoplealways have their playgrounds,

they know how to amuse themselves,

and that America as a classless society

needs to have places whereyregular human beings can go

and stand side by sidewith the rich and privileged

and enjoy the same experience

and not be made to feel that they are somehow less.

And so his primary argumentwas that the national parks

are a democratic experiment in nature.

COYOTE: Before he got back on the train

to resume his trip,

Roosevelt also deliberately quoted

from the act of Congress that had made Yellowstone

the world's first national park--

"for the benefit and enjoyment of the people."

Later, when the arch was finally completed,

that phrase would be permanently carved into its mantle

so that everyone who entered Yellowstone

would be reminded of why the park was there

and for whom.

JOHNSON: I remember the firsttime I arrived in Yellowstone,

I got off the bus right outside the north entrance,

where there's that wonderful stone arch that says

"For the benefit and enjoyment of the people."

It doesn't say,"For the benefit and enjoyment

"of some of the people, or a few of the people."

It says, "All of the people,"

and for me, that meant democracy,

and for me, that meant I was welcome,

and I stepped outside, and as I was

stepping down onto the ground,

there was bison, a 2,000-pound animal walking by,

and there was no one else around.

The bison was just strolling by.

And I looked up at the driver and I said,

"Does this happen all the time?"

and he looked at me and said, "All the time."

And I said to myself, "I've arrived,"

and I can't imagine being in any other place,

and to be honest with you,once I stepped off that bus,

I never got back on.

[Whistle blows]

COYOTE: Two weeksafter leaving Yellowstone,

Roosevelt's whirlwind tour brought him

to Arizona's Grand Canyon

for a brief stop on the way

from New Mexico to southern California.

Roosevelt had never before seen the Grand Canyon,

and he was overwhelmed bythe vista from the south rim.

He longed to spend more time there,

but his schedule permitted only this quick visit

and a few remarks to the crowd that had gathered to greet him.

MAN AS THEODORE ROOSEVELT: I want to ask you to do one thing

in connection with it

in your own interest and inthe interest of the country.

Keep this great wonder of nature as it now is.

Leave it as it is. You cannot improve it.

The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.

What you can do is to keep it for your children,

your children's children,and for all who come after you

as one of the great sights which every American,

if he can travel at all, should see.

JENKINSON: The great statement in this speech is

"Leave it as it is.

"The ages have been at work on it

"and man can only mar it."

Nothing has ever been saidabout the national parks

as fine as that.

The idea for Rooseveltwas that humans have an itch

to change things...

but the beauty of the Grand Canyon

is when you look at it and you see nothing

that humans have constructed.

It's a magnificent thing that he said,

and if that were the one wilderness statement

of American life,

I believeit's greater than Thoreau.

I believe that it's greater than John Muir.

"Leave it as it is.The ages have been at work on it

"and man can only mar it"

should be the motto in front of every national park

in the country.

And if you think that this was said

by a man on a 14,000-mile trip in which he gave 262 speeches

more or less off the top of his head

on seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time,

you realize whatpresidential greatness can be.

COYOTE: Then Roosevelt was gone...

and by the next day, he was

whistle-stopping his way through California,

giving 2 to 3 speeches a day,

attending banquets and dinners in his honor,

presiding at dedications and groundbreakings,

setting the frenetic pacethat had become his hallmark.

[Bird cawing]

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: Nothing can be done well

at a speed of 40 miles a day.

Far more time should be taken.

Walk away quietly in any direction

and taste the freedom of the mountaineer.

Climb the mountainsand get their good tidings.

Nature's peace will flow into you

as sunshine flows into trees.

The winds will blow their own freshness into you

and the storms their energy

while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.

COYOTE: By 1903, John Muir was 65

and more famous than ever.

Mountain peaks and canyons,campsites and glaciers

now bore his name.

Magazine editors besieged himwith requests for articles.

The Sierra Club he had founded was growing steadily,

and the hikes he personally led into the mountains

were always the club's most heavily attended.

People loved to hear him preach his deeply held gospel

that salvation could be found through immersion

in the natural world.

WOMAN: John Muir was there,

mounted on the horsewhich he rode now and then,

when no woman would accept the loan of it.

He was rapt, entranced.

He threw up his arms in a grand gesture.

"This is the morning of creation," he cried.

"The whole thing is beginning now."

"The mountains are singing together."

Harriet Monroe.

COYOTE: For nearly a decade now,

he had been struggling to have the Yosemite Valley

given back to the federal government

and made part of the larger Yosemite National Park.

But nothing he seemed to say or do

had proven successful.

Things remained at a standstill in the spring of 1903,

as Muir prepared to leave hishome in Martinez, California,

and embark on a trip to Europeand Asia with some friends.

Suddenly, his plans changed.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: An influential man from Washington

wants to make a trip into the Sierra with me,

and I might be able to do some forest good,

in freely talking around the campfire.

COYOTE: It was the president,

still working his way up through California,

asking Muir to accompany him during a visit to Yosemite.

"I do not want anyone with me but you,"

Roosevelt had written.

"I want to drop politics absolutely

"and just be out in the open with you."

Muir realized this wasthe opportunity of a lifetime.

He purchased a brand-new woolen suit for the occasion

and hurried to jointhe presidential entourage.

On May 15, they set off for the Mariposa Grove of big trees

in a flurry of activity.

A long caravan of wagons filled with staff and dignitaries,

a detachment of 30 buffalo soldiers

riding along as escorts.

Muir soon found himself seated in the president's coach

along with the governor of California,

the Secretary of the Navy, the Surgeon General,

two college presidents,

and Roosevelt's personal secretary.

It was hardly the trip he had been promised,

but Muir tried his best to squeeze in words

to the president and governor

about the issue of makingall of Yosemite a national park.

In the grove of mighty sequoias,

the president's group paused, as all tourists did,

for a snapshot at the famous Wawona tunnel tree,

and later, they posedfor an official photograph,

lined up along the base of the Grizzly Giant,

the oldest and most famous sequoia in Yosemite,

estimated to be 2,700 years old

and boasting a single branchthat was 6 1/2 feet in diameter.

Then the troops, the phalanx of reporters and photographers,

and virtually all of the official party

headed back to the Wawona Hotel,

where a series of receptions and a grand dinner

were scheduled in the president's honor

that evening.

None of them knew that Roosevelthad no intention of attending.

Instead, he remained behind with only John Muir

and a few park employees,

who started preparing a camp

at the base of one of the sequoias,

part of a secret plan Roosevelt had hatched

to allow him time alone with the trees

and the man who considered them sacred.

They built a fire and sat around it,

eating a simple supper, talking as twilight enveloped them,

getting to know one anotherin the glow of the blaze.

MAN AS THEODORE ROOSEVELT: The night was clear,

and in the darkening aislesof the great sequoia grove,

the majestic trunks,beautiful in color and symmetry,

rose around us like the pillars of a mightier cathedral

than ever was conceived even by the fervor of the Middle Ages.

Hermit thrushes sang beautifully in the evening.

JENKINSON: And Muir said,

"I fell in love with this Theodore Roosevelt."

I mean, he actually used those words.

"You can't resist this man.I fell in love with him."

Roosevelt, interestingly enough,

came back and complained a little bit about Muir

and said, "He doesn't know his bird songs."

Roosevelt's an ornithologist.

He knows everything there is to know about birds.

But Muir also got one off on Roosevelt.

He said to him, "Mr. President,

"when are you going to get over this infantile need you have

"to kill animals?"

Roosevelt would not have takenthat from any other human being.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: I had a perfectly glorious time

with the president and the mountains.

I never before had a more interesting,

hearty, and manly companion.

I stuffed him pretty wellregarding the timber thieves

and other spoilers of the forest.

COYOTE: Long after sundown,

with no tent and only a pile of army blankets,

the two men finally went to sleep.

[Horse whinnying]

COYOTE: The next morning at 6:30,

they saddled up for the longride to Yosemite Valley,

with the guide understrict orders from the president

to avoid at all costs the Wawona Hotel

and the delegation of officials he had jilted the night before.

In the high country near Glacier Point,

with its spectacular panorama of the valley

and its waterfalls arrayed at their feet,

they stopped and once more made camp

at a spot their guide-- Charlie Leidig--had picked out.

MAN AS CHARLIE LEIDIG: Aroundthe campfire, Roosevelt and Muir

talked far into the night regarding Muir's glacial theory

of the formation of Yosemite Valley.

They also talked a great deal

about the protection of forests in general

and Yosemite in particular.

I heard them discussing the setting aside

There was some difficultyin their campfire conversation

because both men wanted to do the talking.

COYOTE: They awoke the next morning,

covered by a light snow thathad fallen in the high country

during the night.

Rather than feeling inconvenienced,

the president couldn't have been more delighted.

"We slept in a snowstorm last night,"

he exclaimed to the crowds

that had been patiently waiting for him on the valley floor.

"This," he said, "has beenthe grandest day of my life."

After camping one more night alone with Muir,

the president was picked up and escorted

back to the train station for the resumption

of his cross-country tour.

And when he spoke at the state capital in Sacramento

a day later,

Roosevelt's words soundedas if they could have come

from the lips of John Muir.

MAN AS THEODORE ROOSEVELT:Lying out at night under those

sequoias was lying in a templebuilt by no hand of man.

A temple grander than any human architect

could by any possibility build,

and I hope for the preservation of the groves of giant trees

simply because it would bea shame to our civilization

to let them disappear.

They are monuments in themselves.

I want them preserved.

We are not building this country of ours for a day.

It is to last through the ages.

COYOTE: Within 3 years,the California legislature

and United States Congress

approved the transfer of the Yosemite Valley

and Mariposa big trees

back to the federal government.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: I am now an experienced lobbyist.

My political education is complete.

Have attended the legislature,

made speeches, explained, exhorted,

persuaded every mother's son of the legislators,

newspaper reporters, who would listen to me.

And now that the fight is finished

and my education as a politician and lobbyist is finished,

I am almost finished myself.

COYOTE: Yosemite National Park

now encompassed almost everything

Muir had been fighting for.

"Sound the timbrel," he wrote a friend,

"and let every Yosemite tree and stream rejoice."

JOHNSON: I remember one day I was walking

in the Cook's Meadow,

which is the meadow in thecentral part of Yosemite Valley,

and there was a woman there,

and she was just looking up and around her

and she just kept saying, "Oh. Oh, my.

"Oh, my."

I looked at her, I said,"Ma'am, are you all right?"

She said, "Yes, I'm just fine. I just--oh."

I didn't have to talk to her about

the transcendent experience.

She was having one, and itwasn't a transcendent experience

because it was a national park.

It was transcendent because it was Yosemite Valley.

But because it had become a national park,

she could havethat transcendent experience.

And that's commonplace in Yosemite.

And where else can you getan experience like that?

[Bird cawing]

WOMAN: In other parts of the world,

there are certain areas that are preserved

because some rich noblemanout of the goodness of his heart

decided to decree it.

But in the United States, you don't have to be

dependent on some rich guy being generous to you.

To me that's what national parks mean.

It's a symbol of democracy,democracy when it works well.

At its best.

COYOTE: Back in 1870,

a 15-year-old boy in Kansaswas idly reading the newspaper

that had been used to wrap his lunch.

He came across an article

about a mysterious sunken lake in Oregon

and he vowed to visit it one day.

It would take William Gladstone Steel

15 years to get there.

MAN AS WILLIAM STEEL: Imagine a vast mountain,

6 by 7 miles through,

at an elevation of 8,000 feet with the top removed

and the inside hollowed out,

then filled with the clearest water in the world,

and you have a perfect representation

of Crater Lake.

COYOTE: When a volcanic eruption

witnessed by the ancestors of the Klamath Indians

blew the top off a mountain peakin the Cascades 7,700 years ago,

the hole that was left began slowly filling

with each year's rainfall and snowmelt.

The result was Crater Lake--

at 1,942 feet, the deepest lake in America.

Because it is filledalmost entirely by snowfall,

the lake is also the world's clearest.

An 8-inch disc lowered into its sky-blue waters

is still visible 142 feet below the surface.

William Steel resolved that it should be protected forever,

just like Yellowstone and the other parks.

That quest took him another 17 years

of tireless promotion and lobbying

before he finally succeeded in 1902,

when Crater Lake became the nation's

sixth national park.

And it had all happened

because of this accidental lunchtime reading

32 years earlier.

DUNCAN: The parks, they'rethe greatest spots on earth,

wonderful natural places,

but the story of national parks

really isn't a story about the place.

It's--it's the story of people

who fell in love with those places,

people who became so devoted to them

that they wanted to do anything they could to save them.

SMITH: Richard Wetherill.

He's broadening out from Mesa Verde.

He wants to make people aware

that we have such a treasure, such a heritage here,

and yet here's this cowboy.

A cowboy, and we all know what cowboys are.

We read in our dime novels.

They can't be doing anything scholarly.

COYOTE: Despite his lack of formal education,

Richard Wetherill wanted to be taken seriously

as an archaeologist.

He had left Mesa Verdeand began scouring the Southwest

in search of other ruins.

His journey took him fromColorado to Utah and Arizona

and finally to New Mexico, to a place called Chaco Canyon.

another eerily silent set of ruins

left behind by the ancient Puebloans.

With wallsof remarkable workmanship,

some rising 5 stories,

Pueblo Bonito, the biggest ruin,

contained remnants of an enclosed plaza,

35 circular kivas,

more than 2 acres honeycombed by 650 rooms,

connected by small passageways and doors.

The religious and cultural hub of the civilization

that had dominated the surrounding region

between 850 A.D. and 1200 A.D.

By itself, Pueblo Bonito was several times larger

than anything at Mesa Verde

and it sat in the midst of an array

of nearly a dozen other significant ruins.

Wetherill moved there with his wife Marietta,

filed a homestead claim,

and hired nearly 100 Navajosto help with the excavations.

Though Wetherill tried to carry on his work

as carefully and scientifically as possible,

professional archaeologists still dismissed him

as a pothunter.

And as the relics he was unearthing

reached eastern museums,

50,000 pieces of turquoise,10,000 pieces of pottery,

5,000 stone implements, and much more,

they clamored for the governmentto do something to stop him.

SMITH: Richard Wetherill was very careful

identifying everything he found.

He was ahead ofthe professional archaeologists,

which is an oxymoron at that time,

but he was ahead of them,

and I think they were jealous of him.

There's a snobbishness.

Educated Easterners can't believe

that a western cowboy could possibly be doing these things.

COYOTE: For his part, Wetherill said,

he would gladly turn over any portions of Chaco Canyon

if the federal government would simply do something

to protect them.

But the criticism of Wetherill's work

would not go away.

[Bird cawing]

COYOTE: Meanwhile, back at Mesa Verde,

the ruins Wetherill had firstdiscovered were in danger.

Thieves, pot hunters, and tourists

were flocking to the site,

sometimes even setting off,damasticks of dynamitetruc

simNow a new group awa had taken up the cause

of protecting its treasures.

WOMAN: Mesa Verde seems to be set apart

for a park,

and to make and keep it as such

is the aim of the ColoradoCliff Dwellings Association

of Women.

Virginia McClurg.

COYOTE: Virginia McClurg was a well-known lecturer

with a seemingly boundless determination

to leave her mark on the world.

She gathered a group of women

into the ColoradoCliff Dwellings Association,

organized petitions,

wrote personal letters to the president,

held rummage sales, and solicited

10-cent contributions from other women's groups

across the country.

And it was working.

Support for protecting Mesa Verde

had become a national cause.

But just when Congress seemed ready to act,

it became clear to those around her

that Virginia McClurg had a different vision

of how Mesa Verde should be preserved.


this small and compact tract in the proposed park

should not be under the protective care

of a body of 125 women with hereditary membership

who know more about the matterand care about the matter

than anyone else.

Virginia became so engrossed in it

that it suddenly was not our park as a nation,

it was her park.

COYOTE: Twice McClurg even negotiated leases

between her group and the Ute Indians

only to have the federal government remind her

that private citizens cannot make treaties.

The uproar she created

threatened to derail the bill in Congress

at the very moment it seemed headed for passage.

Even some of her closest allies

now suspected that Virginia McClurg

had lost sight of the real goal.

Lucy Peabody, the association's vice regent,

had preferred to get results rather than grab headlines.

She believed that only as a national park

could Mesa Verde be properlysaved for future generations,

and now felt compelled to resign from the association.

With her went many other members,

including some of the group'smost nationally prominent women.

McClurg, once the darling of the press,

found herself disparaged in newspaper editorials.

SMITH: There was a sadness in all this.

At the moment of your greatestachievement, you lose it.

I--I think it's a normal reaction.

This becomes so possessive with her

that to have it within your grasp, right there,

and it's gone.

COYOTE: On June 29, 1906,

President Roosevelt signed the law

creating Mesa Verde National Park,

the first of its kind,

meant to celebratenot majestic natural scenery

but a prehistoric culture and its people.

With Mesa Verde protected,

anger over Richard Wetherill's excavations

at Chaco Canyon in New Mexico boiled over

and set in motion eventsthat would change the course

of park history.

SMITH: The bill for Mesa Verdewas just for Mesa Verde,

There's sites all over bu the Southwest,

and the same thing's happening there.

COYOTE: Once more,Representative John F. Lacey

came to the rescue of placesnowhere near and nothing like

his native Iowa.

He sponsored a new bill to make

any unauthorized disturbanceof any prehistoric ruin

a federal crime.

The act for the preservationof American antiquities

also granted the president of the United States

an extraordinary power:

the exclusive authority without any Congressional approval

to set aside places that would be called

not national parks but national monuments.

MAN: John F. Lacey gave the president

the greatest power a president could ever have

for the preservation of nature,

which allowed the president to do

something as simple as pick up a pen

and declare an area of the public domain

a national monument,

and since Teddy Roosevelt happened to be

the president at the time,

was that a gift or what?

Bully. Delighted.

Teddy Roosevelt picked up that pen

and started creating national monuments

and the country would never be the same again.

COYOTE: Roosevelt quicklyput his new powers to use.

a unique mass of grooved rock sacred to several Indian tribes

rising nearly 900 feet abovethe plains of eastern Wyoming.

It was called Devil's Tower.

Then he named El MorroNational Monument in New Mexico,

a rock abutment bearingprehistoric Indian petroglyphs

as well as the inscriptionsof early Spanish expeditions

that had come north from Mexico 300 years earlier

and founded a colony 15 years before the Pilgrims

landed at Plymouth Rock.

And on March 11, 1907,

he did exactly whatRichard Wetherill had wanted

and created Chaco Canyon National Monument.

Roosevelt would also use the antiquities act

to protect an endangered grove of coastal redwoods

north of San Francisco

named in honor of the man whohad first introduced Roosevelt

to the giant trees--

Muir Woods.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: The man ofscience, the naturalist,

too often loses sight of the essential oneness

of all living beings

in seeking to classify them in kingdoms,

orders, species, etc.

While the eye of the poet, the seer,

never closes on the kinshipof all God's creatures.

And his heart ever beats in sympathy

with great and small alike

as Earth-borne companions and fellow mortals

equally dependent on Heaven's eternal love.

COYOTE: In 1905, John Muir'slife had been beset by sorrow.

His devoted life Louie died of lung cancer

and he buried her next to her parents

near an orchard on their farm.

President Roosevelt,who had lost his first wife

as a young man,

and then found solace in the open spaces of the west,

sent his personal condolences.

"Get out among the mountainsand trees, friend," he wrote.

"They will do more for you than either man or woman could."

But the aging mountaineer went instead

to the deserts of Arizona,

where it was hoped his daughter Helen

might recover from pneumonia.

and discovered that in fact he was, once again,

in a majestic forest,

only this one was 200 million years old

and all of the trees had long ago fossilized

into solid rock.

It was the petrified forest.

EHRLICH: I think parks represent the wildness inside us.

They're the place where we can be lonely,

where we can experience solitude.

They're a place we go to as refuge, as sanctuary.

It's a place we go out to to come back in.

It's the only place perhaps left in many people's lives

where that's possible.

COYOTE: Soon, Muir was himself again,

sometimes taking total strangers on long walks

through the tumbled and broken stone trees.

In what he now called

"these enchanted carboniferous forests,"

he loved nothing more than to sit

near the trunk of a petrified tree

and inspect it minutely with a magnifying glass.

But even this forest was endangered.

Scin hopes of findingiteamethyst crystals inside them.

Boxcar loads of petrified wood were being shipped east

to be made into tabletops and mantelpieces.

An enormous stone crusher was being constructed

to pulverize the logs for useas industrial abrasives.

For years, John F. Lacey had been trying to protect the area

by making it a national park.

Congress would not go along.

But John Muir knew somebody

who now could save his enchanted forest

with a stroke of his pen.

President Roosevelt invokedthe antiquities act again,

and Petrified ForestNational Monument was created.

MAN AS THEODORE ROOSEVELT: There is nothing more practical

than the preservation of beauty,

than the preservation of anything

that appeals to the higher emotions of mankind.

I believe we are past the stage of national existence

when we could look on complacently

at thendividual who skinned the land

and was content for the sakeof 3 years' profit for himself

to leave a desert for the children of those

who were to inherit the soil.

JENKINSON: If government doesn't protect

the weakest elements of humanity

and the weakest elements of nature...

the whole game is lost.

That wasan incredible breakthrough

for a man who grew up

in a profoundly Republican household

in an age of J.P. Morgan and John Rockefeller.

There's a paradox at the verycenter of American life.

We are meant to bethe most materially happy,

wealthiest, most privileged people who ever lived on Earth.

That's one version of the American dream.

We are also Thoreau's Americans and Jefferson's Americans,

and Roosevelt's Grand Canyon Americans.

We want that, and somehowwe've gotten it into our heads

that we can have both,

and maybe we can.

But Roosevelt understoodthat we can only have both

if we severely restrain our acquisitive energies

for some parts of this continent.

That's the key.

UDALL: We used to talk about Teddy Roosevelt

having distance in his eyes...

and that's what's important, is to have this

strong, powerfulpart of our heritage vivid

so that people can understand it and appreciate it.

COYOTE: Before his presidency was over,

he would create 5 new national parks,

51 federal bird sanctuaries,4 national game refuges,

18 national monuments,

and more than 100 million acres worth of national forests.

Now Roosevelt wanted one morenational park added to his list,

the place he had urged the citizens of Arizona

to leave as it is--the grandest canyon on Earth.

Developers were already erecting buildings,

miners were filing claims,

and ranchers were grazing cattle all along the south rim.

But even Theodore Rooseveltcould not persuade Congress

to act.

Local sentiment and vested interests

were just too powerful.

The president looked for some way, any way

to prevent the canyon from becoming

another commercialized Niagara Falls.

He found his solution in the antiquities act.

CRONON: It was written basically to try to prevent

the destruction of Indian archaeological sites

in the American southwest,

the idea being thatthere were people going in

and robbing these graves,

and that that needed to be stopped.

And so a law is written that says the president

can very quickly set aside a tract of land

as a national monument,

and that's a fairly narrow purpose.

But there were no restrictions in the law,

and Teddy Roosevelt quite quickly realized

that you could set aside land

for reasons other than archaeology,

and the great beneficiary of that law would be

the Grand Canyon.

COYOTE: The wording of the antiquities act

"objects of historicon and scientific interest,"

and though it had contemplatedonly small-sized parcels,

up to then, no more thanit did not absolutely restrict

the number of acres a president could set aside.

On January 11, 1908,declaring the Grand Canyon

"an object of unusual scientific interest,

"being the greatest eroded canyon

"within the United States,"

Roosevelt set aside 806,400 acres

as a national monument.

It would not enjoy the same protections

as a national park,

but it was a step in the right direction.

Politicians in Arizona were outraged

and threatened to challenge Roosevelt in court.

Members of Congress complained

that the presidenthad overstepped his authority.

He ignored them all.

UDALL: A lot of Westerners, powerful Westerners,

Congressmen, senators,were opposed and critical...

and that was partof Teddy Roosevelt's power,

that he could overwhelmthe wishes of local people

and dared to do it.

JENKINSON: Well, there was furor.

There is always furor when these things happen.


But Roosevelt understood

that short-term controversy over nature

leads to long-term benefit.

Roosevelt's view was that an intact environment

is infinitely more valuablespiritually and economically

than an extracted one.

UDALL: But history always vindicates,

always vindicates what they did.

There's not a single person in Arizona today

who would say the Grand Canyon was a mistake.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR:The very first reservation

that ever was made in this world,

the garden of Eden, contained only one tree.

The smallest reservation that ever was made.

Yet no sooner was it made

than it was attackedby everybody in the world--

the devil, one woman, and one man.

This has been the history of every reservation

that has been made since that time,

that is, as soon asa reservation is once created,

then the thieves and the devil and his relations

come forward to attack it.

DUNCAN: He said, "Nothing dollarable is safe"...

and it's like this insight into human beings,

but particularly Americans.

He understood this relentless grasp

of American commerce.

It wants to reach into everything.

And he realized that if a dollar value

could be attached to,in his mind, a sacred place,

it was vulnerable.

COYOTE: Since the start of the 20th century,

the city of San Francisco had been looking

for a better supply of water to fuel its growth,

and it had set its sights on the Tuolumne River

and the Hetch Hetchy Valley

as the perfect place for a dam and reservoir,

a narrow valley remote enough to assure

that the waters trappedfrom the yearly Sierra runoff

would stay pure.

The fact that it was within the boundaries

of Yosemite National Park

only added to itsattractiveness to city planners.

No competing claims to water rights existed.

The only land owner to deal withwas the federal government.

Damming and flooding Hetch Hetchy

would be cheaper and easier than finding alternative sites.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: Thatanyone would try to destroy

such a place seems incredible,

but sad expeence shows that there are people

good enough and bad enough for anything.

COYOTE: To John Muir, allowing a dam

in any national park

would betray the very purpose of parks,

and even worse in his eyes,

set a dangerous precedent for the future.

Hetch Hetchy was among hisfavorite places in Yosemite.

He called it "one of nature's rarest

"and most precious mountain temples."

With its own majestic waterfalls and massive granite faces,

it had all the beauty of the more famous Yosemite Valley

20 miles to the south, he said,

without the clutter of tourist hotels.

When he had helped draw the boundary lines

for the national park back in 1890,

he had deliberately included Hetch Hetchy.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: These temple destroyers,

devotees of ravaging commercialism,

seem to have a perfect contempt for nature,

and instead of lifting their eyes

to the god of the mountains,

lift them to the almighty dollar.

Dam Hetch Hetchy.

As well, dam for water-tanks

the people's cathedrals and churches,

for no holier temple has ever been consecrated

by the heart of man.

COYOTE: At first,Muir's view had prevailed.

Theodore Roosevelt's interior secretary

turned down San Francisco'sapplication 3 different times.

Then on April 18, 1906, a tremendous earthquake

had shaken San Francisco,

bringing down hundreds of buildings

and igniting fires that consumed most of the city,

killing thousands.

With San Francisco reduced to ashes,

politicians redoubled their efforts

for a reservoir at Hetch Hetchy,

claiming falsely that its water supply

could have prevented the destruction.

In a referendum, San Franciscans voted 7-1

in favor of the dam.

The city's mayor launched a campaign

attacking Muir's character

for trying to obstruct the project.

Even Muir's own Sierra Club split over the issue,

with some prominent members advocating the dam.

MAN: They loved Yosemite,

but they loved Yosemite in a kind of additive way.

It wasn't at the core of theirunderstanding of America.

And for them in San Francisco, the city came first.

COYOTE: Meanwhile, an old adversary of Muir's

stepped forward on the city's behalf--

Gifford Pinchot.

As the nation's top forester

and President Roosevelt's trusted adviser,

Pinchot had become one of the most powerful

men in Washington.

At his urging, Roosevelt had reserved

millions of acres of western land

as national forests

in the faceof Congressional opposition.

Pinchot steadfastly believed

that conservation meant wise use of nature,

not preserving it for its own sake,

and he had never been a wholehearted supporter

of national parks,

let alone John Muir's unbending vision

of protecting and expanding them.

When a new interior secretaryjoined the administration,

Pinchot began lobbying him in support of the dam.

In response, Muir once again took his case

to the man with whom he had shared

3 magical nights in the park back in 1903--

the outdoorsman he considereda friend and kindred spirit.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: April 21,1908. Dear Mr. President,

a few promoters of the present scheme

all show forth a proud set of confidence

that comes from a good, sound, substantial

irrefragable ignorance.

Hetch Hetchy is one of the most sublime and beautiful

and important features of the park,

and to dam and submerge it

would be hardly less destructive and deplorable

than would be the damming of Yosemite itself.

Faithfully and devotedly yours, John Muir.


Pinchot is rather favorableto the Hetch Hetchy plan.

I have sent him your letter

with a request for a report on it.

I will do everything in my power

to protect not only the Yosemite,

which we have already protected,

but other similar great natural beauties of this country.

But you must rememberthat it is out of the question

permanently to protect them,

unless we have a certain degree of friendliness toward them

on the part of the people of the state

in which they are situated.

CRONON: What makes the conflict between Muir and Pinchot

so bitter, so personal

is that 2 really wonderfulvisions of the human good,

both of which are worth celebrating,

are on a collision course,

and that collision course meets

in Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.

For one man, Muir, that valley and that park

are a cathedral,

and anything that might desecrate that cathedral

is blasphemy.

It is a--it is a sacrilege against God.

For the other man, Pinchot,

these are resources that serve the common good.

These are resources for a democracy.

COYOTE: But Pinchot was in Washington

and Muir was in California.

Pinchot's view prevailed.

Pending Congressional approval,

the interior secretary grantedSan Francisco's application,

calling it "the greatest benefit

"to the greatest number of people."

President Roosevelt did nothing to stop it.

Muir was devastated.

But the fight was not over.

A year later, with Rooseveltout of the White House,

the new president, William Howard Taft,

came to California on his own tour of Yosemite,

and to the dismay ofSan Francisco's politicians,

chose Muir as his guide.

Before the visit was over, Taft decided to oppose the dam.

By 1913, however,

yet another president had taken office--

Woodrow Wilson, who choseas his secretary of the interior

Franklin K. Lane, the formercity attorney for San Francisco.

Lane wasted no time gettingthe project back on track.

Muir was now 75, and the longbattle over Hetch Hetchy

had taken its toll.

Ten years earlier, he had anticipated

completing 20 books in his old age.

Because of what he called "this everlasting

"Hetch Hetchy business,"

he had managed to finish only 2.

"I wonder," he wrote his daughter,

"if leaves feel lonely when theysee their neighbors falling."

Still, he soldiered on, speaking, writing,

urging anyone who would listen

not to flood the exquisite valley.

"I still think we can win," Muir said

in November of 1913, adding,

"anyhow, I'll be relieved when it's settled,

"for it's killing me."

3 weeks later, the bill approving the dam

cleared its final hurdle in Congress.

President Wilsonquickly signed it into law.

MAN: It was sorrowful indeed

to see him sitting in his cobwebbed study

in his lonely house

with the full force of his defeat upon him

after the struggle of a lifetime in the service of Hetch Hetchy.

I could not but think thatif Congress, the president,

and even the San Francisco contingent could have seen him,

they would certainly have been willing

to have delayed any actionuntil the old man had gone away.

And I fear that is going to be very soon...

as he appeared to me to be breaking very fast.

Robert Marshall.

COYOTE: Exhausted and frail,

Muir forced himself to finish a book

on his travels in Alaska.

He built new bookcases in the big, empty house

he had once shared with his wife Louie

and their 2 children.

MAN AS JOHN MUIR:The battle for conservation

will go on endlessly.

It is part of the universal warfare

between right and wrong.

Fortunately, wrong cannot last.

Soon or late, it must fall back home to Hades,

while some compensating good must surely follow.

They will see what I meant in time.

There must be places for human beings

to satisfy their souls--

food and drink is not all.

There is the spiritual.

In some, it is only a germ, of course.

But the germ will grow.

COYOTE: In December of 1914,he came down with pneumonia.

On Christmas Eve, John Muir,

the wilderness prophet who had struggled so hard

to get his adopted country to experience

the blessings of nature, died.

POPE: I think when John Muir walked into Yosemite,

a century-long conversation began...

and it was a conversation about the nature of America

and about whether we were going to remain

what Lincoln called"the last best hope of Earth"

or whether we were simply going to become another Europe.

And John Muir's encounter with Yosemite--

remember, he was a European.

He came from this narrow Scots background.

He was not an American.

And he encountered Yosemiteand he imagined what America

could be.

And for a century, we've fought about

whether we liked his vision or not.

MAN: I like what he said on one occasion

where he essentially said,"the enemies of wildness

"are invincible, and they are everywhere,

"but the fight must go on...

"and for every acre that you gain,

"10,000 trees and flowers and all the other forest people

"and the usual unborn generations

"will rise up and call you blessed."

COYOTE: 4 years after Muir's death,

work on the dam he had opposedwith all his strength began,

and the Hetch Hetchy valley,

whose tranquil meadows he hadcompared to a landscape garden

and a mountain temple

would slowly be entombed underhundreds of feet of water.

But Muir's fight had strucka chord in many Americans,

who now wondered if a lovely valley

in Yosemite National Park

could be turned into a reservoir,

were any national parks safe?

CRONON: John Muir lost the fight over Hetch Hetchy

and the dam was built,

and people who live in San Francisco today

drink the water of Hetch Hetchy.

Muir died feeling thathe'd been defeated by that,

and that was a great tragedyat the end of his life.

But it's also true thatHetch Hetchy would then go on

as a kind of battle cry that would inform

all wilderness, wild land, parkland battles

from that moment on.

It looks like a defeat, and yet what's interesting about it

is that in that defeat, a whole series of people

began to wonder whetherthe parks needed more protection

than they currently had.

That there needed to be some greater rampart,

some greater wall that could defend the parks

against a future such controversy.

COYOTE: A proposal that Muir had supported

now began gaining greater ground across the nation--

to create an agencywithin the federal government

whose sole job would be to promote, administer,

and protect the national parks,

to make sure they fulfilled their great promise

and enduredfor countless generations.

MAN: Muir said...

MAN AS JOHN MUIR: As long asI live, I will hear the birds

and the winds and the waterfalls sing.

I'll interpret the rocks and learn the language

of flood, of storm and avalanche.

I'll make the acquaintance of the wild gardens

and the glaciers

and get as near to the heartof this world as I could.

And so I did. I sauntered about

from rock to rock, from grove to grove,

from stream to stream,

and whenever I met a new plant,

I would sit down beside it for a minute or a day

to make its acquaintance, hear what it had to tell.

I asked the boulders where they had been

and whither they were going

and when night found me, there I camped.

I took no more heed to save time or to make haste

than did the trees or the stars.

This is true freedom,

a good practical sort of immortality.

Captioning made possible by Friends of NCI

Captioned by the National Captioning Institute

ANNOUNCER: Next timeon "The National Parks"...

a new leader steps forward to protect

America'’s wild places.

MAN: Stephen Mather was the right man

in the right place at the right time.

ANNOUNCER: A federal agency iscreated to watch over the parks,

and in Arizona, a fight over the fate

of the grandest canyon on Earth.

MAN AS IRVIN S. COBB: Imaginethe very heart of the world

laid bare before our eyes.

ANNOUNCER: As"The National Parks" continues.

To further explore

"The National Parks: America'’s Best Idea,"

visit PBS online at...

"The National Parks: America'’s Best Idea,"

a film by Ken Burns is available on DVD and Blu-ray.

A companion book and CD are also available.

To order, visit

or call 1-800-PLAY-PBS.

Bank of America is proud to be

exclusive corporate underwriter

for the films of Ken Burns

and hopes you enjoyed this encore presentation.

Announcer: Our national parks belong to all of us.

They are places of discovery, they are places of inspiration,

they are America's best idea.

Major funding provided by: the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.

Additional funding was provided

by the Park Foundation in support

of a clean and healthy environment;

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations--

dedicated to strengthening America's future

through education;

the National Park Foundation,

the official charity of America's national parks;

the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation;

the Pew Charitable Trusts;

by General Motors;

by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting;

and by generous contributions to this PBS station

from viewers like you.

Thank you.


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