The National Parks


Going Home (1920-1933)

While visiting the parks was once predominantly the domain of Americans wealthy enough to afford the high-priced train tours, the advent of the automobile allows more people than ever before to visit the parks. Mather embraces this opportunity and works to build more roads in the parks.

AIRED: April 25, 2016 | 1:56:43

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

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of a clean and healthy environment;

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dedicated to strengthening America's future

through education;

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the official charity of America's national parks;

the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation;

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Thank you.

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WOMAN: The best thing to do at the Grand Canyon

is to float the river.

Because then you have timeto idle back your soul

to that great vastnessand that great timelessness.

The first time I floated the river,

I almost was puzzled and didn't like the fact

that I was so awestruck.

Because I've seen a lotof other wonderful places.

You know, been to Glacier Bay, have been in Yosemite,

have lived at Mount Rainier.

So why should the Grand Canyonbe grabbing me so hard?

But it does.

It's an amazing place whenyou can really experience it.

Not look at it, but experience it.

Be part of it.

Hear the constancy of the river's flow.

Maybe that constancy is a part of it,

that there's something bigger than yourself.

Well, you know that, but you don't feel it

until you get into the Grand Canyon.

To go inside, you go outside

because you need to know yourself in context.

Not the big "I"that you usually feel you are

as you go trotting through your daily life,

But to find that added dimension of yourself,

that innermost essential you that is there.


PETER COYOTE: In late 1915,

on the train ride back from San Francisco

to their home in Lincoln, Nebraska,

Margaret and Edward Gehrke decided to take

the one-day side excursionto the Grand Canyon

offered by the Aitchison,Topeka, and Sante Fe Railway.

Margaret had never seen anythinglike it before in her life.


in this beautiful old worldare too big to talk about.

One can only weep before so supreme a spectacle of glory

and of majesty.

COYOTE: Margaret was 32,a lover of books and poetry

who had read and admired John Muir.

She taught school until shortly after she married Edward,

a plumber who had gone intothe house-building business.

Edward's passion was dogs and fishing

and photographing everything he saw.

Margaret's was dreaming about the yearly excursions

the childless couple began taking

once Edward's business started to flourish.

Over the course of nearly 30 years,

Margaret would record the start of every trip

as the "day of days" in her journal.

Edward would bring along his Kodak camera, snapping pictures

Margaret would later carefully place in photo albums

to commemorate their adventures.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE:Let those who will buy land

and horde money.

We will have our memories,

glad memories of golden experiences together.

[Train horn sounds]

COYOTE: In 1917,

the Gehrkes took the Chicago,Burlington, and Quincy line

to Yellowstone, the nation's oldest park.

Two years later,

the Great Northern took themto Glacier National Park.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: We have seen much in a short time.

But still I have not found the peace I seek.

I have found 5 hotels filled with crowds.

I've seen beautiful scenery,

but not the deep silence of the hills.

COYOTE: Then a boat ferried them to a quiet spot

on the far shore of Lake McDonald.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE:We have a wonderful location,

camped in a forest of tall pines overlooking the lake.

At last I have found the spirit of the woods.

I shall like it here very much.

COYOTE: They lingered there for 11 days.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE:August 21. Our last day here.

It has been all we dreamed it would be.

For in this trip like all the others,

we have laid up for ourselves treasures,

and we have remembered to live.

August 24, Lincoln, Nebraska.

To come homeon Edward's birthday was nice,

if returning home can everbe said to be pleasant.

August 27, the housekeeping wheel begins.

I swept and dusted, thoroughlycleaned the front rooms.

COYOTE: Margaret was already dreaming of more national parks

beckoning her and Edward.

And although the railroads had introduced them to the parks,

in the future, the Gehrkeswould travel a different way.

Outside their house in Lincoln sat a new Buick,

1 of 17 Edward would own in the next 20 years.

MAN: At the heart of the park idea is this notion

that by virtue of being an American,

whether you're ancestorscame over on the "Mayflower"

or whether they just arrived,

whether you're from a big cityor from a rural setting,

whether your daddy owns the factory

or your mother is a maid,

you--you--are the owner

of some of the best seafront property this nation's got.

You own magnificent waterfalls.

You own stunning views of mountains

and stunning views of gorgeous canyons.

They belong to you. They're yours.

And all that's asked of youis to put it in your will...

for your children so that they can have it, too.

Hopefully you won't let it be sold off,

you won't let it be despoiled.

Hopefully you'll provide

for proper maintenance of this property that is yours.

But that's all you've got to do.

Now...that's quite a bargain.

MAN:The national parks themselves

are old as we count age in America.

But until Stephen T. Mather conceived them

all combined as a system,

they had existed unnoticed.

Suddenly our national parks became...

our most wonderful possession,

this shining badge of the nation's glory,

sharing somewhat evenof the sacredness of the flag.

Robert Sterling Yard.

COYOTE: In 1916, when Stephen Mather

helped to createthe National Parks Service,

the park idea was already 50 years old in America.

The parks themselves, however,

still existed as a haphazardcollection of scenic places,

occasionally guarded by the army,

often ignored by Congress

and in many ways controlled by the railroads

that had invested far morethan the federal government

in advertising the parks and providing amenities

for the tourists who could afford to go.

Mather was determined to change all that.

He wanted more national parks.

He wanted them within reach of everyone,

and he wanted them promotedto the American people

as 1 cohesive system.

But with no clear precedence to guide them,

he and his young assistant, Horace Albright,

would instead have to relyon their own judgment

to determine the future of the parks.

As the nation entered the 1920s,

when a growing prosperitypermitted more and more people

to escape the crowded cities of the East,

Mather and Albright's efforts

would bring Americans to their parks as never before.

To do it, they would allythemselves with the machine

that was already rapidlytransforming American life.

But almost from the start,some park supporters worried

that they had made a pact with the devil.

MAN: I heard the other day

that a question's been raised

as to whether automobiles should be admitted

in the Yosemite Valley.

May a word be permitted on that subject?

If Adam had known what harmthe serpent was going to work,

he would have tried to prevent him

from finding lodgment in Eden.

And if you stop to realize

what the result of the automobile

will be on that wonderful, that incomparable valley,

you will keep it out.

Do not let the serpent enter Eden at all.

Lord James Bryce.

MAN:The first idea of national parks

seems to have been that

they were stupendous natural spectacles.

Then came the great out-of-doors movement.

And people turned to the national parks

as places to live during their vacations.

Lastly comes the realization

that our parks are not onlyshowplaces and vacation lands,

but also vast schoolrooms of Americanism,

where people are studying, enjoying,

and learning to love more deeplythis land in which they live.

Stephen Mather.

COYOTE: For Stephen Mather,

being the first director ofthe National Parks Service

was more than a civil service job.

It was a calling to a noble cause,

something so compelling

it had drawn him away from private industry

where his business skills and genius for promotion

had made him a millionaireseveral times over.

He could be a whirlwind of action,

and his intense energy and friendliness

had earned him the nicknamethe eternal freshman.

But Mather was also prone to crippling spells of depression,

mental collapses that required hospitalization.

He always found the solace and rejuvenation he needed so badly

in the parks.

No Mather wanted all Americans

to experience that healing power.

But he realized that until more people started showing up,

Congress would never create more parks

or even support the existing ones.

MAN: He was at heart a public relations man

and wanted the country to beaware of the national parks.

There never could be too manytourists for Stephen Mather.

He wanted as many as possibleto enjoy these treasures,

no matter how they got to the parks.

Horace Albright.

COYOTE:Mather and Horace Albright

were willing to try almostanything to lure visitors.

They approved golf courses,zoos, even a summer race track

at different parks

and proposed Yosemite as an ideal setting

to host the winter Olympics.

In Yellowstone,

Albright arranged for a buffalo plains week

in which cowboys and Crow Indians

stampeded the park's bison herd

for tourists arriving by buckboard.

He also allowed a movie crew to film the stampede

for a Hollywood westerncalled "The Thundering Herd."

Albright even considered

stringing a cable car across the Grand Canyon,

but the idea was ultimately rejected

because Mather realized it would ruin the view.

MAN AS STEPHEN MATHER: This is a new agency.

MAN: Mather and Albright are building something

that has not existed before.

So they're trying to do the right things

and trying to understand what the American people

are going to want from their parks in the future.

And they're struggling with all kinds of advice.

They're getting advice from biologists

not to eradicate the predators

and they're getting advice from the locals

that there should be more commercial pursuits.

For Mather, recreation was the absolute center

of what the parks were supposed to be

and recreation and entertainment.

And so he very much isinto the parks as spectacle.

COYOTE: But of all the judgments Mather made in the early years,

none would have a greater impact

on the number of people visiting national parks

than his decision to embrace the automobile.

Mather's hero, John Muir,had harbored mixed feelings

about the horseless carriage.

"Blunt-nosed mechanicalbeetlesbeatles," he called them,

"that might mingle their gas breath

"with the fresh air of pines and waterfalls."

Though Muir also admitted

they might help create new allies for the parks

if they were allowed inunder certain restrictions.

Stephen Mather had no such qualms.

By 1918, tourists arriving in Yosemite by automobile

outnumbered those coming by train 7-1,

and by the end of 1920, Mather proudly announced

that for the first time in history,

the number of people visiting the parks

exceeded one million a year.

"The automobile," Mather said,"has been the open sesame."

MAN: The advent of the automobile

was the great democratizing factor.

Suddenly anyone who owned a car could come to the park,

could make the drive, could go around the park

and see it with no guide,with no tie to the hotels,

with no tie to the stagecoach operation

that was entrenched.

You could just camp out along the way,

you know, at your own expense.

MAN: The automobile is the devil's bargain

because as more peoplepour into the national parks

in automobiles, they need a place to park,

and they start by parking anywhere they can.

They start by parking in the meadows.

They start by parking along the roads.

They begin to become a menace of the whole idea

of a pristine natural environment

that you view from a community setting,

such as a stagecoach or a motorbus.

COYOTE: Mather joined forceswith automobile clubs,

chambers of commerce, good roads associations,

local governments, and car manufacturers

to lobby for a national park-to-park highway,

a 6,000-mile loop of improved roads

linking all the western parks.

"It would be," he predicted in 1921,

"the greatest scenic highway in the world,"

one that would unleash what he called

"the great flow of tourist gold

"into every community along its route."

In 1925, Mather told his park superintendents

he wanted them all to gather at Mesa Verde.

To get there, however,

they were explicitly instructed not to take the train.

They were to form car caravans

and travel togetheron the park-to-park highway

and make as much news about itas possible along the way.

It was a classic Mather publicity stunt,

and it was a huge success.

That year, visitation at national parks topped 2 million

for the first time.

MAN AS STEPHEN MATHER: In the national parks

there is one thing that the motorists are doing,

and that is making them a great melting pot

for the American people.

This will go far in developing a love and pride

in our own country

and a realization ofwhat a wonderful place it is.

There is no way to bring it home to them

in a better way than by going from park to park

through the medium of an automobile

and camping out in the open.

It is just by trips of that kind

that people learn what America is.

MAN: It was great thatwe created national parks,

but we created rangersto personify national parks.

It''s Yosemite talking to you.

It was Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir

and George Bird Grinnell

all those guys rolled into one.

And standing there in front of you,

giving you a talk by a campfire.

The romance and magic of that,

and as near as I can tell, it's never faded.

COYOTE: In the past, politicalpatronage had determined

who got jobs in the parks.

A well-connected employee at Glacier National Park

was so inept

his patrols were restricted to following the railroad tracks

to keep him from getting lost.

The son-in-law of an early Mesa Verde superintendent

turned out to be responsible

for the looting of precious artifacts

from the ancient cliff dwellings.

To institute changes,

Stephen Matherquickly began hand-picking

new superintendents.

Jesse Nussbaum,a professional archaeologist,

was put in charge of Mesa Verde and its treasures.

John White wasan English-born adventurer

who had scoured the Klondike for gold

and fought in 3 wars,

but he had gladly taken a low-paying job

just to be at the Grand Canyon,

until Mather and Albright recognized

his leadership skillscould be put to better use

as superintendent of Sequoia National Park,

where White would serve for morethan a quarter of a century.

The most prestigious post,superintendent of Yellowstone,

was entrusted to Horace Albright.

"I felt so desperately young," he later remembered,

"I just prayed to be 30 years old."

To appear more mature,

he took to wearing eyeglasses in public.

MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT: If you cannot work hard

10 or 12 hours a day

and always with patience and a smile on your face,

don't fill out the attached blank.

Apply if you are qualified.

Otherwise, please plan to visit the Yellowstone National Park

as a tourist.

COYOTE: Underneath the superintendents,

Mather wanted a cadre of equallyprofessional park rangers.

"Men between the agesof 21 and 40," Albright said,

"of good character, sound physique,

"and tactful in handling people."

They needed to be able to rideand take care of horses,

build trails, fight forest fires,

handle a rifle and pistol,

have practical experiencein surviving every extreme

of weather in the out of doors,

and be willing to work long hours

with no provisions for overtime pay.

The salary was $1,000 a year.

From that, rangers were expected to buy their own food,

and pay $45 for the symbolof the job they had chosen:>

a specially designed uniform

topped by a distinctive flat-brimmed hat.

MAN: And that marvelousflat hat, that cavalry hat,

is just like a magnet tomillions of visitors every year.

There's something special

about the park ranger uniform and that hat.

Steve Mather and Horace Albright saw in the park ranger

an opportunity to sell the whole idea of national parks.

MAN AS STEPHEN MATHER:If a trail is to be blazed,

it is, "send the ranger."

If an animal is floundering in the snow,

a ranger is sent to pull him out.

If a bear is in the hotel,if a fire threatens a forest,

if someone is to be saved,it is "send a ranger."

If a dude wants to know the why of nature's ways,

if a sage-brusher is puzzled about a road,

his first thought, "ask a ranger."

COYOTE: And the man every ranger looked up to

was Stephen Mather.

He once gave a ranger travel money

to make a cross-country tripto visit his parents.

Occasionally treated rangers andtheir wives

to meals at fancy restaurants,

and in Yosemite, spent $25,000 from his own pocket

to build the ranger's clubhouse,

a place where they could relax in private.

Mather himself took to staying there

instead ofin one of Yosemite's hotels

whenever he visited the park.

Impressed byan educational nature program

run by 2 college professors at a private resort at Lake Tahoe,

Mather paid to have the wholething transferred to Yosemite.

Soon guided nature walksand evening campfire lectures

by what he called ranger naturalists

were being inaugurated in every national park,

where they quickly became

one of the park service's most popular programs

and did more than anything else

to burnish the imageof friendly professionalism

Mather was trying to create.

MAN: They are the people who have the answers

to the questions that the parks pose

when you come into a park.

Who were these people that built these roads?

How did this great chasm get created?

What kind of birdand what kind of flower is that?

It prompts all these questions in you

that you want answer to.

The ranger is the one that you go to for the answers.

You know, I think I got a pretty good education,

but I don't know if I'm proud or sorry to say

that most of the science that I know

I learned at a national park as an adult,

and a good deal of my history, too.

I learned from a rangertelling me, explaining to me

as I was just cascading questions toward them.

COYOTE: Most of the rangers were men,

but a few were women.

At age 18, Clara Marie Hodges,

who knew Yosemite's trails as well as anyone,

became the Park Service's first woman ranger.

At Yellowstone, Isabel Bassett Wasson

a Brooklyn native witha Master's degree in geology

from Columbia University,

gave lectures at 3 different locations each day,

each one on a different topic,

because crowds followed her wherever she went.

WOMAN:Park rangers have collections

of silly questions because we so enjoy them.

What time do the moose come out for pictures at Isle Royale?

Wind Cave has one of my favorites.

The rangers there occasionally get asked what the cave weighs.

DUNCAN: How much of this cave is underground?

How many miles of this cavernhaven't been discovered yet?

Why did the Indians build their ruins so close to the road?

MAN: And you could be a naturalist...

if you knew the answer to 3 questions:

Where's the restroom? How far is Las Vegas?

And what's the fastest way out of here?

That was the 3 questions.

[Birds chirping]

[Woodpecker pecking]

MAN: Whenever someone enters a national park,

it's like going to another world.

And I think that people feel that transition,

the feel that sense that they've gone to someplace better

than what they've left behind,

but the irony is that where they've gone

is the placewhere they've always been.

It's just now they understand it,

now they see it, now they feel it

because parks are like going home.


This is Colorado.

Ahead, the snow-covered peaks and cool pines

and a long trail into the unknown.

About 20 miles outof Fort Morgan we made camp,

where mosquitoes made supper and sleep

an interesting undertaking.

Mosquitoes won.

COYOTE: In July of 1921,Margaret and Edward Gehrke

set off on their most adventurous trip ever:

a 3-month journey coveringmore than 7,000 miles,

adding more national parksto their growing list.

The Gehrkes were travelingin their new Buick,

auto camping across the West,

picking each day'sitinerarythemselves

and stopping for the nightwherever the mood hit them.

Schoolyards, municipal parks,

or simply on the side of the road.

To keep them company, theybrought along their pet dog,

an Airedale named Barney.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: 75 miles this day

over splendidly graveled roads.

The freedom, the joy, the ecstasy one feels

when he is going intothe mountains that lie ahead.

The steady purr of the speeding car

that bears one on past unfamiliar fields.

COYOTE: At Rocky Mountain National Park,

they drove over the continental divide

on the Fall River Road,

which the Park Service hadcompleted only a year earlier.


We shall long remember going over this new path

from Estes to Grand Lake.

A ride of 40 miles of indescribable scenery

and some stretches of inconceivable roads.

Altitude: 11,000-plus.

COYOTE: From Rocky Mountainthey pushed westward,

across Utah and Nevada to Northern California,

where they learned thatthe visit Margaret had planned

to Lassen Volcanic National Park would now be impossible

because the mountain roadswere in such bad shape.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: It would be sensible not to go.

But to be sensible is to be commonplace.

To be commonplace is unpardonable.


I shall regret his decision.

[Bird chirping]

COYOTE: They had better luck in Oregon

at Crater Lake National Park.

They circled it on the newly completed 35-mile Rim Road,

"one of the great scenic highways of the West,"

Margaret noted in her journal.

And motored on to Astoria, Oregon,

reaching the Pacific Ocean near the same spot

where the Lewis and Clark expedition

had spent the winter of 1805-1806,

after becomingthe first American citizens

to cross the continent.

Five days later,

the Gehrkes reachedyet another national park.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: In camping tonight

here at the foot of Mt. Rainier,

its great summit covered with immaculate snow,

its outline in sharp contrast against the sky,

the clear bright stars above,

the icy chill of thin air,

a secret dream of my heart has been realized.

And here I give thanks.

COYOTE: The Gehrkes' trip had only whetted their appetite

for more trips over the coming years,

and Edward's revolving parade of new Buicks

always with new parks as their destination.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: September 25, 1922.

Mt. Desert Island off the coast of Maine.

We have arrived.

The tall pines about remind me a little of Glacier.

The lake with its low range about it

a trifle of Grand Lake at Rocky Mountains.

So we sleep tonight and rejoice

in spite of a cold wind impossible to keep out.

July 30, 1923.

Wind Cave National Park.

We took the medium-length trail devoting 4 hours to the tour.

We have visited our eighth national park.

November 30, 1923.

Arrived in time for a full day of seeing hot springs.

Our ninth national park.

August 24, 1925.

We are off into Mesa Verde.

For 31 miles, we wound and wound,

round and round, up and up.

First the switchback roadwith its sharp-grade curves,

then the knife-edge highway and Mesa Verde.

Here it was.

Scrubby little pinion trees, canyon,

and spruce tree house over there in full sight.

Altogether different than we had expected.

COYOTE:Mesa Verde meant that 12 parks

had been checked off Margaret's list.

Like many other Americans,

the Gehrkes realized they were now collecting parks.

DUNCAN: In the early days,when you came into a park,

you had to pay a feeif you brought an automobile.

And so they'd give you this sticker

that you would put on your windshield.

And after a while, people sortof saw that as, you know,

proof that they'd been to parks,

and they decided, well, I'll start, you know,

collecting parks.

I will try to get all of the parks.

I'll try to go to all of them and get my stickers.

Now you don't have the stickers.

You get a little passport that you can get stamped

when you come into it, as your proof,

if you suffer from this obsession,

and you get these little stamps.

I thought that I was pretty obsessed

with these kind of things,

and then we met a guy named Tuan Luong.

He was born in Paris to Vietnamese parents.

Got a degreein artificial intelligence,

became an avid rock climber

and decided he wanted to continue rock climbing

and so he did his post-graduate work in California

so he could be closeto El Capitan and Yosemite.

And he soon decided that he wanted to photograph

in every national park,and so he set out to do it,

and he takes these incredible photographs...

and he has now taken photographs in every national park

that existsin the United States today,

all 58 national parks.

So you see this is, structurally this--

this is the first editionof the National Geographic guide

to the national parks.

And so what I have is thaton this first page here

I put a stamp for eachof the parks that I visited.

And, well, I've visited all of them so far.

There is the 58.

Some of them, they are just somewhat faded.

I photograph in all the 58 with my camera,

and I think I'm the onlyphotographer to have done so.

MAN: The dreamy blue haze

that ever hovers over the mountains

softens all outlines,

lends a mirage-like effect of great distance

to objects that are but a few miles off,

while those farther removedgrow more and more intangible

until finally the skyline blends with the sky itself.

There are 7 peaks of 6,000 feet altitude

that still have no name.

Could anything better provethe astonishing isolation

of this majestic region

though set as it is in the very midst of American civilization?

Horace Kephart.

COYOTE: When Horace Kephart had first come

to the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee

in 1904, he was a broken man.

Precociously brilliant,

he had entered college at age 13,

enrolled as a graduate student at Cornell when he turned 17,

took a prestigious jobin Yale University's library,

and got married before he was 25.

As head of the St. Louis Mercantile Library,

he had gone onto make a name for himself

as an expert on early western explorations.

But his marriage proved unhappy.

Kephart turned to heavy drinking,

and when he lost his job and his wife left him,

taking their 6 children with her,

he had suffered a breakdown.

At age 42, he decided to start over

in a place where he couldlose himself in the wilderness

and find a new purpose for his life.

He chose the Smoky Mountains,"which seemed," he wrote,

"like an Eden, still unpeopled and unspoiled."

MAN AS HORACE KEPHART: When Iwent south into the mountains,

I was seeking a back of beyond.

I yearned for a strange land

and a people that had the charm of originality.

I wanted to enjoy a free life in the open air,

the thrill of exploring new ground.

Here, in the wild wood, I have found peace,

cleanliness, health of body and mind.

COYOTE: The Smokies are the tallest mountains

in the Appalachian chain,

hosting the world's greatest diversity of plant, animal,

and insect life of any regionin a temperate climate zone.

Including more than100 species of native trees,

spruce and hemlock, giant tulip poplars

and chestnut oaks.

A greater variety of treesthan in all of Europe.

For centuries, it had beenthe home of the Cherokees,

until most of them were forced from their land

and sent to Oklahoma on what came to be known

as the Trail of Tears.

In their place, other people had settled

in the remote mountaintops and hollows.

Isolate farmers, moonshiners,Confederate deserters,

and Union sympathizers hidingout during the Civil War;

Cherokees who had evaded removal,

and a collection of other people like Horace Kephart

on the run for one reasonor another from civilization.

MAN AS HORACE KEPHART:Seldom during my forest exile

did I feel lonesome in the daytime.

But when supper would be over

and black night closed in on my hermitage,

and the owls began calling all the blue devils of the woods,

one needed some indoor occupation

to keep him in good cheer,

and that is how I came to write my first little book.

COYOTE: Kephart's book, "Camping and Woodcraft,"

a guidebook for thosewho travel in the wilderness,

became known as the camper's bible.

He quickly published another book,

"Our Southern Highlanders,"

about the people living around him

in the place he now considered home.

He proposed that the Smoky Mountains

be made into a national park.

Otherwise, he feared the greatwoods would suffer the same fate

as nearly all the other eastern forests.

MAN AS HORACE KEPHART: I am not a very religious man.

But often when standing alone before my maker

in this house not made with hands,

I bowed my head with reverenceand thanked God for his gift

of the great forest to one who loved it.


Not long ago I went to that same place again.

It was wrecked, ruined, desecrated,

turned into a thousand rubbish heaps,

utterly vile and mean.

Did anyone ever thank God for a lumberman slashing?

COYOTE: Giant lumber companies

were buying up large parcelsof land at cheap prices,

hiring local workers at equally cheap wages

and beginning to systematically strip the mountains

of their forest canopy.

This was logging on a new industrial scale.

Railroads were extended into nearly every valley,

bringing steam-powered skidders and log loaders

to handle the massive trees

of the previously untouched woodlands.

Cornfields were transformed into sawmills,

and towns sprang up around them.

Farther uptoward the mountain peaks,

portable housing called string towns

were assembled to keepthe workers close to their jobs.

When one section was cleared,

they moved everything stillfarther up and began again.

By the mid-1920s,

more than 300,000 acres had been clear-cut.

"Much of the Smokies," one resident said,

"looked as if it had been skinned."

Of the 100,000 acres ofvirgin forest still remained.

Kephart and others like himwanted those trees spared.

"I owe my lifeto these mountains," he said.

Among those joining the cause was another man

who, like Kephart, had arrived as a stranger.

Masahara Izukaborn in Osaka, Japan, in 1881,

had come to the United States to study mining,

though by 1915 his university days were over

and he had permanently severedties with his family in Japan.

He was wandering the country in search of a job--

Colorado, St. Louis, New Orleans--

When his travels brought himto Asheville, North Carolina

at the edge of the Smokies.

MAN AS MASAHARA IZUKA: This is a mountainous area.

It will be cold enough torequire a blanket in the autumn.

No mosquitoes.

An excellent place to live.

Nothing can be better.

Now, if only I make a lot of money.

COYOTE: He changed his name to George Masa,

set about to learn better English,

and took a position in the laundry room

at Ashville's exclusive Grove Park Inn.

He was soon promoted to the valet desk,

where his intelligence and gentle friendliness

made him a favorite ofthe hotel's elite clientele.

To make a little extra money,

Masa began processing the filmand printing photographs

from the guests' cameras,

a skill that quickly blossomed into a new job

with a professional photographer and then a business of his own.

Though barely 5 feet tall andweighing just over 100 pounds,

he lugged his heavycamera equipment everywhere,

searching the Smokies for a new vantage point,

Then waiting for hours for theperfect light to take a picture.

The local chamber of commerceeventually bought his photos

to promote the region in their brochures.

Masa turned some of them into color postcards

for sale to tourists.

His love of the mountains inevitable brought him

into contact with the man whohad been trying to do with words

what Masa was now doing with photographs.

MAN AS HORACE KEPHART:I have been out with George

on several of his trips,

exploring the wildest and most rugged parts,

scaling precipitous devling rocky defiles,

where no sign has been left by man.

COYOTE: Horace Kephart quicklybecame Masa's closest friend

and easily recruited him intothe crusade to save the Smokies.

Others were joining as well.

Community leaders in Ashevilleand in Knoxville, Tennessee,

got on the bandwagon.

Some out of a love of the mountains;

some in the belief that tourism would result in better roads

and bolster the local economy.

A New York publicity firm,

brought in bythe Knoxville Automobile Club,

suggested that the group call itself

the Great Smoky Mountain Conservation Association.

The name caught on.

Soon the mountains themselves

were referred to as the Great Smokies.

On the North Carolina side,

boosters published a promotional booklet

with 5 photographs by GeorgeMasa and text by Horace Kephart.

MAN AS HORACE KEPHART: We have 18 national parks

in the West.

They comprise an areaof over 11,000 square miles.

East of the Mississippi River, there is but 1,

far up on the Maine Coast,

and it covers only 8 sqaure miles.

Three-fourths of the American people

live east of the Mississippi.

Most of them cannot affordthe time or the money

that must be spent to visit the western parks.

COYOTE: In 1926, withthe support of Stephen Mather,

Congress authorized the creation of 3 new southern parks:

in Virginia and Kentucky as well as in the Smoky Mountains.

But there was a hitch.

Congress insistedthat the money to buy the land

come from the states or private donations.

The federal governemnt would not put in a penny.

In Tennessee and North Carolina,

a fundraising goal was set at $10 million,

which seemedan impossibly lofty figure

for one of the poorest sections of the country.

But people from all walks oflife rallied to the cause.

Local ministers held specialSmoky Mountain Sunday services

to encourage their congregations to contribute.

Bellboys at the Farragut Hotel in Knoxville

donated a dollar each.

Students in the city'shigh school pledged $2,490,

including the entire proceedsfrom the junior class play.

Asheville's newspaper reported major contributions

of $1,000 and higher

from prominent businesses and families...

as well as donations from every grade school,

white and black, in the city'ssegregated school district.

Children were raiding their piggybanks

for pennies and nickels.

The logging industry fought backwith full-page advertisements

in local newspapers,

arguing that a national parkwould ruin their business

and eliminate the jobs that went with it.

Meanwhile, they were franticallycutting the old-growth forests

within the proposed park boundaries,

60 acres a day according to 1 estimate,

hoping to extract everything they could

before the land was closed to them.

By the Spring of 1927, the fund drive to save the Great Smokies

had reached $5 million in cash and pledges.

But it was only half of what was needed.

Kephart, Masa, and other park supporters

were now caught in a race against time

and the loggers' saw.

And time was running out.

[Bird screeches]

MAN AS J.B. PRIESTLY: If I were an American,

I should make my remembrance of it the final test

of men, art, and poesy.

I should ask my self,is this good enough to exist

in the same country as the canyon?

How would I feel about this man, this kind of art,

these political measures if I were near that rim?

Every member or officer of the federal government

ought to remind himself with triumphant pride...

that he is on the staff of the Grand Canyon.

J.B. Priestly.

MAN: For more than 16 years,

I have been exploring and working

in the Grand Canyon of Arizona on power sites.

I now have the financial backing

to build 2 huge hydroelectric plants

in the Grand Canyon

to electrify every railroad,mine, city, town, and hamlet

in Arizona.

Senator Ralph Henry Cameron.

COYOTE: Since before the turn of the century,

Ralph Henry Cameron hadconsidered the Grand Canyon

his own private fiefdom.

In 1919, he had lost a prolonged fight

to keep the canyon from becoming an national park,

and a series of court rulingshad ordered him to abandon

many of the questionable mining claims

he had used to gain effective control

of some particularly scenic spots,

including the Bright Angel Trail,

the main path from the Canyonrim to the Colorado River.

But after being elected to represent Arizona

in the U.S. Senate,

Cameron carried onas if nothing had changed.

Despite repeated court injunctions,

he simply refused to remove his buildings.

And through his tight grip

on the political machine of northern Arizona,

prevented any action from being taken to make him comply.

Park rangers opposed to him

resorted to having their mail sent in code

because they suspected thatthe canyon's postmaster,

Cameron's brother-in-law,was opening their letters.

When Cameron proposed2 giant hydroelectric dams

and a platinum mine within the park,

Stephen Mather decidedthe senator had gone too far

and set out to stop himand all the other developers

who were planning dams in other national parks.

Mather did what he always did best,

galvanizing public support.

Newspapers, women's clubs,and conservation groups

rallied to the cause and lobbied congress

to keep dams out ofany existing national park.

No one wanted another Hetch Hetchy.

MAN AS STEPHEN MATHER: Can we not preserve

a few of our magnificent lakes,

a few of the priceless waterfalls

without encounteringthe grasping, calloused hand

of commercialism

extended to deprive our children of their heritage?

Once a small dam is authorized, other dams will follow.

One misstep is fatal.

COYOTE: Proposed dams in Sequoia, Glacier,

and Yellowstone were stopped.

And in the Grand Canyon,

all of Cameron's projects were stopped, too.


Ralph Cameron took any opposition to his plans


Now he lashed out.

He managed to have the entire appropriation

for Grand Canyon National Park removed from the senate budget.

He denounced Mather on the senate floor

and instigateda congressional investigation

that traveled from park to park,

trying to embarrass both Mather and Albright

by stirring up spurious claimsagainst their integrity.

But it all backfired.

Newspapers began their owninvestigations into Cameron,

highlighting how he had used his senate position

to further his private interests.

Park supporters in congresstook the unusual step

of openly criticizing a fellow member for his vendetta.


And in 1926,

the voters of Arizona refused to re-elect him.

Out of power,

Cameron could no longer protect his Grand Canyon empire.

His fraudulent mining claimsfinally had to be abandoned.

Indian Gardens,

the dilapidated rest stopon the trail down to the river

where Cameron's outhouses

contaminated the only fresh water,

had to be turned over to the park.

And at Bright Angel Trail, the toll gate was finally removed

so that the peoplewho actually owned the park

could freely use it.

MAN: I recall when I was 12 years old

looking into the Grand Canyon

and being told by the ranger on the rim

that there were rocks down there

that were nearly 2 billion years old...

and thinking to myself, I'm just 12 years old.

This canyon, at least the rocks

if not the actual scene that I was looking at,

had been there for umpteen times longer

than I had been on the planet, had been alive,

and that humbled me.

I remember thinking to myself,

we don't have very long on this planet.

And at the same time, I felt a greatness,

what a privilege to be here,

what a privilege to be an American

and to look into that canyon andhave this as an American icon

and to be able to reassure myself

that one day I would come backand see this place again.

WOMAN AS BESSIE HYDE: Some ships sail from port to port,

following contentedly the same old wind.

While others who, through restlessness,

watch new seas at each break of day.

We of the night will know manythings of which you sleepers

have never dreamed.

Bessie Hyde.

COYOTE: As the sentimental poetry she loved to write

made abundantly clear,

Bessie Haley Hyde yearned fora life of romantic adventure.

By 1928, when she was 22 years old,

she had already picked upand moved half a dozen times,

studied art and design among the bohemians of San Francisco,

and in the space of less than 2 years, got married,

got a quickie divorce in Nevada,

and then got married again.

Her new husband, Glen Hyde, age 29,

was an Idaho potato farmer

with his own thirst for doing the unusual.

He had become an experiencedriver runner in the northwest,

having built and guided a boat

down Idaho's treacherous Salmon River,

the fabled river of no return.

Few of their friends were surprised, therefore,

when Glen and Bessie announced

they would celebrate their honeymoon

by attempting something that fewer than 50 people

had ever accomplished:

take a boat through the Grand Canyon

on the turbulent Colorado River.

Bessie Hyde would be the first woman ever to try it.

They started out on October 20, 1928,

from Green River Utah,

in a 2-ton scow Glen had built for $50

and then loaded with supplies:

bags of Idaho potatoesand home-canned vegetables,

a rifle for shootingdeer and ducks along the way,

and a set of bedsprings

so they could sleep in comfort on the boat.

Like other northwest boatmen,

Glen had never worn life preservers running rivers.

and he saw no need for them on the Colorado.

After 2 weeks,

they reached the start of the Grand Canyon a Lee's Ferry,

where locals advised the couple against proceeding any farther.

They considered Glen's boat ill-suited

for the huge rapids farther downstream

and thought it follyto be entering the big canyon

without companions in a second boat.

Glen would hear none of it.

They were 2 days ahead of schedule,

and the Coloradoseemed no harder to master

than the Salmon.

WOMAN AS BESSIE HYDE:The wind is blowing so much

that everything is just about covered with sand,

including Glen and I.

We should be nearly to Grand Canyon Village,

but of course, it is hard to tell.

The scenery is really more majestic.

[Bird screeches]

We've had lots and lotsof riffles, large and small,

and have been gliding along at a great rate.

We've had all kinds of camps,from beach to rock shelves.

COYOTE: Moving downstream

with the stone walls towering above them,

they were seeing the Grand Canyon from a perspective

few people had experienced:

smaller side canyonsof almost unimaginable beauty

around every bend of the river;

waterfallspouring out of sheer stone

RJto feed the Colorado as it courses by;

and always the rapids,

where the river's power in its battle with anything in its way

was on full display.

Farther into the canyon,

the rapids got bigger and more treacherous.

Bessie, who weighed less than 100 pounds,

had already been tossed into the water like a matchstick

by the big sweep oar.

Later, Glen, too,was knocked from the boat.

Bessie somehow managed to throw him a rope and get him back in

but was badly shaken.

"I was ready to climb the canyonwall right then and there,"

she wrote, "but Glen laughed at me."

At the bottomof the Bright Angel Trail,

the beached the scow

and hiked up to the south rim and civilization.

They enjoyed a big mealat the fancy El Tovar Hotel

and spent a cozy night in a tent cabin

at Grand Canyon Village.

The next morning, after buying supplies

and arranging to have themhauled by mule down to the boat,

the couple paid a visit

to Emery Kolb's photographic studio.

Kolb and his brother had themselves

made a legendary descent of the Colorado in 1911,

compiling thrilling footage of their journey

which they showed each day to tourists.

Emery took the Hyde's photograph,

as he had of virtually everytourist at the canyon rim

for a quarter centuryand gave them a signed copy

of his brother's book about the 1911 trip.

Glen and Bessie's dream wasto follow the Kolbs' example,

make a name for themselves with their own daring adventure,

write a best-selling book about it,

and then go on the lecture circuit.

The Hydes were certainthat they would soon be famous

when they ran into a reporter from the Denver Post,

who saw the potential in their story

and eagerly hung on their every word.

"I've had the thrillsof my life," Bessie told him.

I've been thoroughly drenched a dozen times,

but I'm enjoying every minute of the adventure.

Others who saw the Hydes thatday told a different story,

that Bessie had alreadyhad enough of the Colorado

and was reluctant to continue the journey.

When she said good-bye to his family,

Emery Kolb remembered,

Bessie looked athis daughter's shoes and said,

"I wonder if I shall ever wear pretty shoes again."

At the small tourist camp

at the bottom of the Bright Angel Trail,

the Hydes signed the guestbook,

agreed to let a wealthy vacationer

ride along with them for 1 day,

and set off once more on November 17.

On the 18th, they dropped their passenger off

at a place called Hermit Camp,

just upstream from the 10 biggest cascades in the canyon.

He asked to take theirphotograph, and they complied.

Then Glen and Bessie Hyde got back in their boat...

and disappeared.

By mid-December,

news that the honeymooners hadnot been heard from in a month

was captivating the nation.

MAN: The "San Francisco Chronicle."

Mr. and Mrs. Glen Hyde, now lost in the canyon,

certainly could not have been aware of the perils

of such a honeymoon voyage.

An anxious country watching the search

with hope that theywould be found and rescued

also hopes that the advertisement

they have given of the desperatecharacter of this adventure

will deter others.

COYOTE: President Calvin Coolidge

finally ordered the Army Air Corps

to aid in the searchby flying over the canyon.

And at last, the scow was sighted.

Emery and Elsworth Kolb grabbed their cameras

and hurried to the site...

which they reached on Christmas Day.

The scow was floating in the still waters of an eddy,

it's bowline caught in the rocks 30 feet underwater.

Everything seemed untouched on deck:

a baked ham, a sack of flour and other food,

hiking boots and warm clothes,

the bedsprings and blankets,

the Hydes' money and the bookEmery Kolb had given them,

Glen's rifle, Bessie's camera with 6 rolls of film,

and a small journal in whichBessie had been keeping notes

for the book she intended to write.

The last entry from November 30 simply stated,

"Ran 16 rapids today."

Bessie and Glen Hyde had found the adventure and the celebrity

they had been seeking.

But neither of them was ever seen again.

KIRK: In a national park,

you can see something that's more stable than you are...


something that's more enduring than you are.

Our moment on stage is so brief,

but if you can be aware of the ingredients

that make up the stageupon which you live your life,

dance your life,

you can enjoy the dance of life ever so much more.

MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT: If you have ever stood

and looked across to Cascade Canyon

weaving its sinuous way towardthe summit of the Tetons...

you will know the joyof being in a sacred place.

Designed by God to be protected forever.

Horace Albright.

COYOTE: Many years earlier,

Horace Albright and StephenMather had been in Yellowstone

when they took a day trip to check on a new road being built

from the park's southern entrance

toward the valley just beyond, called Jackson Hole in Wyoming.

There they saw something neitherof them would ever forget,

a stunning series of granitespires rising into the sky

from a flat sagebrush plain,

adorned with a necklace of sparkling lakes

and the shimmering Snake River.

It was the Tetons.

As far back as 1882, GeneralPhil Sheridan had argued

that Yellowstone Parkneeded to be made even bigger

to include the natural grazing range

of the world'slargest surviving elk herd.

The Tetons and surrounding lowlands

were an essential partof the Elks' migratory home,

and conservationists clung to the hope

for what they called Greater Yellowstone.

A small group of dude ranchowners in Jackson Hole

also worried that the valleywas becoming too developed

and suggested that someprivate holdings be purchased

and then combined with the public lands.

When he becameYellowstone's superintendent,

Albright made the cause his own.

MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT: This maysound juvenile and presumptuous,

but I took it personally.

I really felt I had a missionto preserve the Grand Tetons

in the only way I knew, through the National Park Service.

COYOTE: Year after year,

every dignitary Albrightescorted around Yellowstone

would eventually find himselfbeing led to a vantage point

offering a viewsouth of the park's borders

toward the Tetons while Albright passionately explained

the reasons why they neededto be added to his park.

Congressmen, influential journalists,

and 2 presidents got the treatments.

One day, Albright learned that a private citizen

traveling incognitounder the name of Mr. Davison,

was about to visit Yellowstone.

His real identity was John D. Rockefeller, Jr.,

head of one of the richest families

and greatest fortunes in America.

He had put up the money to purchase land

on Mount Desert Island in Maine

and donated it to the federal government

to create Acadia National Park.

More recently his generosityhad established a museum

at Mesa Verde.

Albright was thrilled to learn that the great philanthropist

was coming to Yellowstone,

but before he arrived,Albright heard from Mather,

instructing him to respectRockefeller's privacy.

WOMAN: He received a letter from Stephen Mather

telling him don't you dare talk about trying to get the Tetons.

You are not to tell Mr. Rockefeller

anything about your dream.

He always sort of added the quotation marks.

"Your dream."

So he didn't.

He saw Mr. Rockefeller, and he didn't say a word.

The Rockefeller family came back in 1926,

and this time Mr. Mather either didn't care

or he forgot to tell him not to talk about it.

So of course he did immediately.

He took them down there through the valley.

COYOTE: Rockefeller soon began to see things he didn't like.

MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT:Why are those telephone lines

on the west side of the road

where they mar the viewof the mountains, he asked.

Why is that ramshackle old building

allowed to stand over therewhere it blocks the view?

I explained that it was on private land.

Mrs. Rockefeller seemed increasingly upset

as we passed a woebegone-looking old dancehall,

some dilapidated cabins,a burned-out gasoline station,

a few big billboards.

The Rockefellers expressed great concern

that this spectacular countrywas rapidly going the way

of development and destruction.

As the shadows lengthened, they stopped to watch the sunset.

As we sat on logs, I began tounfold my dream for the area

and how I had been tryingfor years to save the Tetons

and the whole valley north of Jackson.

Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller listened.

When I finished, they remained silent

as we watched the sun disappear behind the jagged peaks,

casting long, sharp shadows across the valley.

I felt a little let down.

Here I had laid out my fondest dream

and there was no word or comment.

COYOTE: But 4 months later,

Albright was invited toRockefeller's New York office

to discuss the Tetons again.

This time he showed Rockefellerdetailed maps and cost estimates

for a modest planto purchase some of the land

near Jackson Lake.

SCHENCK: And Mr. Rockefellerstudied it quite a while,

and then he shook his head.

And he looked up and he said, "Mr. Albright,

"this is interesting and everything,"

but he said, "this isn't what I meant.

"I want to know how much it would cost to buy that valley."

And my father, I heard himso many times tell the story,

and he said, "My heartstopped beating right then...

"at the whole valley."

COYOTE: "I remember you used the word dream,"

Rockefeller told Albright,

recounting in detail the grandpanorama they had surveyed

while watching the sunset.

"That's the area for whichI want cost estimates,"

Rockefeller said.

"The family," he added, is onlyinterested in an ideal project."

Albright went back to work

and soon presented a much grander proposal:

the purchase of more than 30,000 acres

at a cost that would exceed $1 million

and possibly much more if word got out

that Rockefeller money was behind the purchases

and land prices skyrocketed.

Rockefeller immediately agreed to it all,

and to conceal his participation,

formed the Snake River Land Company,

ostensibly a cattle business that began buying up properties

through a local banker in Jackson,

a man who not only did not know

the true purpose of the purchases,

but even opposed the idea of a greater Yellowstone.

When congress finally created

the Small Grand TetonNational Park 2 years later,

Albright and Rockefeller were disappointed

that the boundaries included

only the eastern frontof the mountains themselves

and none of the surrounding valley.


Rockefeller continued quietly buying up land,

giving Albright hope that hisdream might one day be realized.

"Rockefeller was becoming," Albright said,

"one of the best friendsthe national parks ever had."

MAN AS ROBERT STERLING YARD:Already the national parks

are magnificently affecting the national mind.

Nowhere else do peoplefrom all the states mingle

in quite the same spirit asthey do in their national parks.

One sits at dinner, say, between a Missouri farmer

and an Idaho miner,

and at supper between a New York artist

and an Oregon shopkeeper.

One climbs mountains with a chance crowd

from Vermont, Louisiana, an Texas...

and sits around the evening campfire

with a California grape grower,

a locomotive engineer from Massachusetts,

and a banker from Michigan.

Here the social differencesso insisted on at home

just don't exist.

Perhaps for the first time,

one realizes the common America and loves it.

In the national parks, all are just Americans.

Robert Sterling Yard.

COYOTE: In 1928, yearlyvisitation at the national parks

topped 3 million for the first time.

"The parks," Stephen Mather proudly proclaimed,

"do not belong to one state or to one section.

They have become democratized.

In many ways he was right.

No longer did park visitors

come exclusively from the upper classes.

They now came from the new, expanding

but predominantly white middle class.

Americans with their own cars,more money in their pockets

and more time to spend it.

Congress, too, seemed more wiling

to support the park system.

It doubled and then redoubledthe annual appropriations,

though the bulk of the moneywas for improving roads,

to accommodate the car-driving tourists

pouring into the park.

Mather now embarked on anambitious plan in which each

park was to have one major road that would open up its scenic

wonders to the motoring public.

MAN: The 1920s see,in certain national parks,

some of the most mind-boggling roads the world has ever seen

because the Park Service iswilling to take a highway to

heights and to places that noother sane humane being would

ever imagine taking a roadway.

And so we see these monumental roads providing some

of the most amazing drivingexperiences you can find

on this planet, to this day.

DUNCAN: Mather wanted a roadinto every park that would

show off, in his mind, the beauty of the park,

and at Glacier was the toughest place.

He went up there to personallyinspect it, and the highway

engineers showed him, "Well,we'll come up this valley" or

"we'll crisscross with these--" I don't know how many--more

than a dozen switchbacks up to the pass.

Fortunately, standing next tohim was Thomas Vint, who was

the landscape architect forthe National Park Service,

and Mather said, "Well, what do you think?"

And he said, "It'll looklike miners have been here,"

and Mather was horrified bythe notion of it and finally

decided, well, we'll do this in a different way.

It'll be longer.

It'll be more expensive, but it won't detract from

the view, and the result wasGoing to the Sun Highway,

which is one of the glories of all roads

in the United States.

COYOTE: Now, at Mather's insistence, landscape

architects--artists,not engineers--were employed

to oversee every detail ofall national park roads.

CRONON: What happens is thatthe parks are essentially

completely converted to becomeavailable to people in private

automobiles, so there arenew roadways that are carved

through the corridors,there are rest stops that are

designed to provide framedvistas of what you're supposed

to see in the parks, there arenew maps, new guide books.

The parks are reinvented inorder to provide a canvas that

people will witness thisnature in these parks as if

they were looking at apainting through the screen

of an automobile.

MAN AS ROBERT STERLING YARD:So rapid is the increase

of travel to the parks that it

is none too early toanticipate the time when their

popularity shall threaten their primary purpose.

While we are fighting for theprotection of the National

Park System from its enemies,we may also have to protect it

from its friends.

Robert Sterling Yard.

DUNCAN: Robert Sterling Yard went through

an incredible transformation.

He started off being paid byStephen Mather to be the flack

for this new Park Service.

Later he got sent over to anew organization, the National

Parks Association, whichstarted off as under the wing

of Stephen Mather.

But gradually Yard startedto say, "I think Mather is

"pushing this too much.

"He's going too much into spectacle, too much into

"entertainment, too many cars."

Yard wanted to have what he called

"national primeval parks."

This kept them as pure asJohn Muir had described them.

That's where he was going--a purist of what parks should be,

and eventually he becameone of the greatest critics

of the National Park Service.

COYOTE: Yard also found himself opposing his old

friend when Kentucky's MammothCave and Virginia's Shenandoah

National Park had been set aside.

Mather loved having two more parks in the east, but Yard

thought they did not meet what he called "national

park standards."

The Virginia site was toosmall and lacked primitive

forests, he said.

And no one from the ParkService, including Mather,

had ever been to Mammoth Cave.

But the final straw for RobertSterling Yard was Mather's

plans for highways in every park.

Hoping to start what he called "a new nationwide movement to

preserve the primitive," he joined forces with the

celebrated conservationistAldo Leopold, an idealistic

young forester named Bob Marshall, and a handful

of other like-minded peopleto form an organization to

protect pristine lands, not just from lumbermen

and developers, but from theNational Park Service itself.

They called it The Wilderness Society.

RUNTE: It's very ironic thatthe National Park Service,

which was called upon topreserve nature, is then seen

as an impediment to itspreservation because it is not

as interested in wilderness as a growing number of Americans

are starting to be.

So the National Park Serviceis accused of demeaning

wilderness, of wanting tobuild roads into wilderness,

of wanting to make wildernesseverything a windshield

experience, an overlookexperience, and many people

in the emerging wildernessmovement begin to become very

critical of the National ParkService and of Stephen Mather.

MAN: He would talk forhours, reviewing his plans

for the national parks.

"They belong to everybody," he used to say.

"We've got to do what we canto see that nobody stays away

"because he can't afford it."

"I hear lots of complaintsabout the tin canners,"

I told him.

"They dirty up the parks,strew cans and papers all over."

"What if they do?" he would say.

"They own as much of the parks as anybody else.

"We can pick up the tin cans.

"It's a cheap way to make better citizens."

Gilbert Stanley Underwood.

COYOTE: Stephen Mather still enjoyed nothing better than

traveling from park to park inhis big touring car, wearing

a park ranger's uniform,and keeping a frenetic pace

that became legendary.

"We wore ourselves out tryingto stay with him for 16

hours a day," one traveling companion

recalled, "and then we hadto sit up half the night

"listening to him talk it over."

DUNCAN: Mather could be just a bundle

of unbounded energy.

Albright said at times he felt that he was the mightiest man

in the world, and that's howhe operated a lot of the time.

COYOTE: No one admired Mathermore than Horace Albright,

and no one in the Park Service was more privy to

the director's periodic wild mood swings.

At least two more times inthe 1920s, Mather was

incapacitated by depressionwhile Albright quietly

filled in.

SCHENCK: They just said hewas on vacation because they

loved the man so muchthey never wanted him hurt

in any way.

COYOTE: In the spring of 1927, on his way back from

inspecting Hawaii NationalPark, Mather suffered a heart

attack, but a month laterhe was in Yosemite, where he

hiked to Glacier Point toprove to his doctor that he

was back at full strengthand capable of resuming his

busy schedule.

He went to Mt. Rainier togo over plans for a new road

in the park and attended the opening of a majestic lodge

on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

At Zion, he showed up to check

on the progress of a mile-longtunnel being blasted through

the sandstone.

It was considered anengineering marvel, and Mather

became so excited about it hestayed for several more days

so he could become the firstperson to walk through it.

On July 4, 1928, he celebratedhis 61st birthday in his

favorite park, Yosemite,and took a long horseback ride

up out of the valley to the Towalame Meadows

in the high country.

He had persuaded some newspapers to report

on the logging being done ona grove of giant sugar pines

located on a privately ownedparcel within the park

boundaries and was pleased tolearn that their stories had

prompted John D. RockefellerJr. to put up $1.7 million to

help buy the land, make itpart of Yosemite, and protect

the trees forever.

Then, on November 5, 1928,he suffered a serious stroke.

Albright rushed to his side.

MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT: He hadbeen trying to say something

but could not make himself understood.

The only word they had beenable to get was "cascades."

"Cascades in Yosemite?"

I asked, but that was not it.

Cascade Corner in Yellowstone?

But that was not it either.

Cascade Mountains in Washington?

His eyes crinkled in a smile.

That was it.

He wanted to know about the new highway across

the northeastern corner ofMt. Rainier that the state

of Washington wasplanning to name after him.

I told him that signs werenow going up along the highway

designating it Mather Parkway.

A relaxed, satisfied look came over his face.

COYOTE: On January 22,1930, after more than a year

of incapacitation, Stephen Mather died.

In his memory, a mountain justeast of Mt. McKinley would

be named Mt. Mather.

An overlook at the Grand Canyon would be called

Mather Point.

A scenic stretch of thePotomac River would be named

Mather Gorge.

A nationwide tree-plantingcampaign in his honor would

also result in Mather Forest near Lake George.

And in every national park,the agency he had created

and molded to his vision woulderect a bronze plaque with his

likeness and these words:"There will never come an end

"to the good that he has done."


put in a lot of work on the park

area--George especially,for while I only interviewed

old residents throughout theterritory, he labored long

and earnestly on his maps.

It is astonishing that a Jap,not even naturalized, so far

as I know, should have done all this exploring

and photographing and mapping without compensation

but at much expense to himselfout of sheer loyalty to

the park idea.

He deserves a monument.

Horace Kephart.

COYOTE: Horace Kephart andhis friend George Masa had

already devoted years of their lives trying to get the Smoky

Mountains set aside as America's newest

national park.

The $5 million pledged by thepeople of Tennessee and North

Carolina was only half of the $10 million price tag

for the land.

Park boosters had beendesperately looking for other

possible sources to make up the difference.

The search ended once againwith John D. Rockefeller Jr.

After being shown some ofMasa's photographs and told

about the impendingdestruction of the old-growth

forests, Rockefeller atfirst pledged $1.5 million.

Then he reconsidered andoffered the entire $5 million

that was still needed, froma fund named for his mother.

But the timber companieshad not given up the fight.

As owners of 85% of theland in the proposed park,

they held out for exorbitantprices and kept cutting trees,

sometimes even after signing agreements to

transfer ownership.

"Boys, we sold it," one company supervisor told his employees.

"Log her."

"When we got done with thatpoor little ridge," a worker

remembered, "there wasn't a toothpick left on it."

Finally, the cutting stoppedand the lumbermen left.

More than 5,500 people, mostlywhites and Cherokees, lived

within the borders of the proposed park.

They, too, would have to leave, willingly or not.

Some happily sold their land.

Others refused, fought andlost in court, and eventually

had to sell under condemnation proceedings.

Many were offered leases for up to two years as the park

took shape, becoming tenantson the land they had once owned.

As the isolated cabins and their small communities--

Webb's Creek, Ravensfordand Smokemont, Cataloochee

and Cades Cove--emptied one by one,

Horace Albright, now in chargeof the Park Service, assured

the people that they wouldalways be allowed to maintain

the cemeteries near their now-vacant churches.

It provided small comfort against the bitterness

of removal.

Their hearts were broken, one resident remembered,

and most of them left crying.

CRONON: I think the paradoxof local resistance to the

creation of national parksis a deep, deep paradox

in American ideas of democracybecause on the one hand,

one of our visions is thatpeople in a local place are

the ones who best understandthat place, are the ones who

have its interests most at heart, and who really,

ideally, ought to be the oneswho vote about what should

happen to that land, justas on a local school board.

And yet it is also true thatthese national parks are not

in the local place that they are in.

They are in the nation.

They stand for the nation,and so by that understanding,

the democratic institutionsthat should defend them are

not at the local level butat the level of the nation,

and this tension between federal control of our

democracy and local controlof our democracy is hard-wired

into what we think democracy is.

MAN AS HORACE KEPHART:The long and difficult task

of surveying the SmokyMountains national parklands

is finished.

It was a big undertaking andbeset with discouragements

of all sorts, but we've won.

Within two years, we will havegood roads into the Smokies,

and then--well, then I'll get out.

This will probably ruin the old country for me.

COYOTE: Horace Kephart never left the Smokies.

On April 2, 1931, he was killed in a car crash

on a mountain road.

George Masa, the first to arrive and last to leave

Kephart's funeral, served as pallbearer and took

a photograph of the memorial service at his

friend's gravesite.

MAN AS MASA: I don't knowwhat I say about the death

of our Kephart.

It shocked me to pieces.

When I am on trail, I always cry in my heart.

Wish Kep with me.

I have a walking cane whichKep carried with him, so when

I go to Smokies, I carry his cane.

I call it Kep.

I miss him so much because he was my buddy.

COYOTE: In 1933, after organizing a hike to

commemorate the second anniversary of Kephart's

death, George Masa became sick.

With no money for his own doctor, he ended up

in the county hospital, where he died on June 21,

penniless and with noknown relatives to notify.

His hiking club put togethera funeral service in Asheville

but did not have the money tobury him next to Kephart as

had been his wish.

By then, the nation itself hadfallen on hard times.

The Great Depression was devastating the country,

and the people of Tennesseeand North Carolina, despite

their best intentions,were unable to fulfill many

of the pledges they had made to create the park.

But now there was a new president, the cousin

of Theodore Roosevelt, whohad his own ambitious plans

for the national parks.

Inspired by all the penniesand nickels that had been

collected from everyday people, Franklin Delano

Roosevelt decided to intervene.

To make up the shortfall, the president allocated

$1.5 million in scarce federalfunds to complete the land

purchases, the first time inhistory that the United States

government had spent its own money to buy land

for a national park.

Within that park, on the maindivide of the Smoky Mountains

that had offered them so muchsolace and for which they,

in turn, devoted so much oftheir lives, is a 6,217-foot

peak that now bears the official name

of Mt. Kephart.

And on its broad shoulder isanother, somewhat shorter peak

now called Masa Knob.

[Birds chirping]


The Grand Canyon.

We arrived this morningafter a pleasant run through

national forest over paved highway.

We made camp and had dinnerbefore we set out to look

at the canyon.

There it was--beautiful, majestic, sublime.

But somehow I missed the thrillof that first look 14 years ago.

Great moments in our lives do not return.

COYOTE: Among the millions ofAmericans who had felt Stephen

Mather's impact on thenational parks were Margaret

and Edward Gehrke.

In 1915,when they had first visited

the Grand Canyon, Mather wasjust beginning his crusade to

promote and develop the parks, and the number of park

visitors nationwide was just over 300,000.

By 1929, when the Gehrkes reached the Grand Canyon

a second time, that numberwould be 10 times bigger--

3,250,000 visitors to a well-publicized string of parks

and monuments stretching from Maine to California,

from Hawaii to Alaska.

By then, the Gehrkes hadalready been to 12 of the 21

existing parks, some of them more than once.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE:May 29. For us, the canyon needs

an added experience.

We decided to hike to the bottom, stay overnight,

and return tomorrow.

May 30. Well, it was a great hike--7 miles to the bottom

and 107 to the top.

We are stiff and lame but satisfied.

What is life but to dream and do?

COYOTE: Traveling in the new Buick they called Red Peter

with a new dog named Pride astheir companion, the Gehrkes

kept on the move, intent on adding more parks to

their list.

On June 9, they reached Sequoia National Park...

on the 10th, General Grant...

and on June 11, they entered

John Muir's Yosemite for the first time.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE:Yosemite, the incomparable

Yosemite of our dreams.

Edward tried so hard to capture it all with his

camera, while I wondered abit if I could ever get it all

down in my diary.

In these few days, YosemiteValley must in some sense

become ours, and we will feelin part what John Muir felt.

COYOTE: Soon they were on the move again.

Back in 1921, impassibleroads had prevented them from

reaching Lassen Volcanic National Park

in northern California.

Not this time.

9 days later, they were in Zion in southern Utah.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE:June 28. We arrived at Bryce

Canyon this morning.

A gorgeous spectacle.

Fantasy and startling beauty.

The silent city with towersand fortresses and steeples

and afar, a thousand windows.

COYOTE: The Gehrkes had now been to all but one

of the national parks inthe lower 48 at that time.

5 years later, in the summerof 1934, they made their

fourth visit to Rocky MountainNational Park, a place now

filled with memories stretching back to

the couple's earliest trips together.

They had a different dogwith them now, and a new car,

one in which Edward hadinstalled a radio to listen to

while the miles rolled beneath their wheels.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: Somuch new pavement has changed

the appearance of the country.

We see the mountains.

Before you could say Jack Robinson, we were lugging

things up the steep steps intothe little cabin called

Rose-Den we have loved so many years.

The old familiar mountainsidewith its cabins, the snowy

peaks beyond, the rush of water all the same.

Only I am different.

COYOTE: Margaret and Edwardwere both in their 50s now,

and on this visit, they tendedto do more driving than hiking

from place to place in the park.

Margaret noted more litter onthe roadside than ever before.

Edward fished as always.


The twilight hour is here.

I look out to dark clouds on the mountainsides.

Towards evening, we havegotten our things together

for quick packing in the morning.

Our stay here in Rose Den comes to an end.

Will we come back again?

I wonder.


COYOTE: In the mid-1930s, Edward would build them

a house-car, and they wouldtake it on some trial runs to

the Minnesota lakes.

But before they could embark with it on another extended

tour of national parks,he took ill in 1939 and died.

Margaret would accept a jobworking for the University

of Nebraska and no longerspend her winters dreaming

of new adventures or her summers pursuing them.

But in 1948, at age 65, she would return to Rocky

Mountain National Park and Rose-Den.

WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE:I took a 5-mile walk to the

village of Estes and back.

Found tourists everywhere, buying things and things.

But the walk was good.

This evening, a great stormraged on Longs Peak, and when

I beheld this majesty, I feltequal to the contemplations

of divinity.

Perhaps the walk cleared my vision.

COYOTE: On this trip, withoutEdward to do the driving,

Margaret went out and back theway the couple had traveled

together so many years earlier--by train.


En route the Zephyr.

Here I am this mid-Julyafternoon going home, and glad

to be going home.

Surely I care little about home.

I never have.

Back to Nebraska to thehateful heat of summer to work

day after day, to monotony,most would say, but glad.

This long, silver train makes swift passage.

It is streaking across theflat Colorado country as I sit

here, alone.

Why should I be so near to tears?

The whole trip toColorado like a dream now.

The whole thing drops from myshoulders now like a jeweled

coat, and I lay it aside,

feeling I've never worn it at all.

Margaret Gehrke.

ANNOUNCER: Next time on "The National Parks,"

during a depression and a war,

the parks bring jobs and peace,

a young biologist revolutionizesthe parks'’ wildlife policies...

MAN: George Melendez Wrightwas the savior of wildlife

in America'’s National Parks.

ANNOUNCER: and in Wyoming, battle lines are drawn

along the front of the Tetons...

The ranchers were totally opposed.

It was a big uproar.

ANNOUNCER: as"The National Parks" continues.

DIFFERENT ANNOUNCER: To furtherexplore "The National Parks:

America'’s Best Idea," visit PBS on-line 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.

Captioning made possible by Friends of NCI

Captioned by the National Captioning Institute

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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