Mr. President Goes to Yellowstone
In celebration of Yellowstone's anniversary in 2010, The White House released a short film about the First Family's trip to the park and archival footage of previous Presidential visits.
- The state of our National Parks in 2009
is uh, we have a lot of work to do,
but we have a great vision for the future.
President Obama understands and recognizes
the importance of our National Parks.
We know that our National Parks
bring in over 300 million visitors a year.
They are American's best idea,
and, uh, National Parks create the opportunity
of unifying the American spirit.
And so we have been very pleased that
President Obama and his family decided that
as part of their summer they would
actually visit National Parks
and put a spotlight on the National Parks,
because it is a unifying American idea,
fundamentally democratic and very much a part of our future.
(jet engine roaring)
(acoustic guitar music)
- Mr. President.
- What's up bro?
Hey, how are you?
How are you?
- Hi, Mr. President.
- Mr. President.
- I have great memories of here.
I was 11.
My grandma, my mom, and my sister who was with us,
she was two at the time.
And we traveled throughout the country,
the entire, uh, the entire summer.
This was our last stop and my favorite stop.
- The National Parks, to me, I think,
are studies in leadership.
How presidents have, uh, related to the National Parks
have been, in some ways, defining aspects
of their larger leadership quality.
- Well, I think it's always special
when a president visits anywhere.
Chester A. Arthur was the first
to visit Yellowstone in 1883.
President Theodore Roosevelt, Roosevelt came in 1903.
Then in 1923, Warren Harding.
In 1927, silent Calvin Coolidge visited us.
Then in 1937, FDR, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt came.
(bright string music)
- [Narrator] President Franklin D. Roosevelt,
swinging through the west on a campaign tour,
took time off for a visit to Yellowstone National Park.
An exponent of conservation, Mr. Roosevelt
backed many measures aimed at enlarging
our national forests and preserving wildlife.
This was a moment of relaxation amid the scenes he loves.
- This is a moment that I have been
looking forward to for a long, long time.
To return to Yellowstone,
where I spent one of the greatest summers of my life.
- Gerald Ford was an interesting example of a president,
because he had been a park ranger in Yellowstone.
Then after Ford, uh, Jimmy Carter came to Yellowstone
and was, again, fishing was his primary focus.
After Carter, George Herbert Walker Bush,
who came to Yellowstone in 1989.
Bill Clinton was here twice.
Yellowstone is the symbol of our National Parks
because it's the oldest one and the first one
in the history of the world.
- And then after, after, um, Bill Clinton,
of course, we had President Barack Obama.
(water gurgling) - [Katie] Rotten eggs.
And Malia-- - So why, why don't, uh,
why don't we have Katie explain to everybody
why it smells like eggs and why it looks so hot.
- Why it looks so hot.
It looks so hot because it is,
and because we're on a volcano.
We're standing on top of a volcano
that still has molten rock a couple of miles down,
much closer than any place else in North America.
- I think what's really important
with the presidential visit is the focus of attention
on resource protection.
And I think that's really what Yellowstone's all about
is protecting these resources because these things here
are pretty darn special.
They're like no place else on Earth,
and you know, you would think a place like Yellowstone,
historically, would, because it has the deep history,
would be invulnerable or invincible
to, to dangers, and that's just not the case.
- Under this president's leadership,
we're able to move forward to invest in our Parks
in a way that hadn't been done for a very long time.
We have a billion dollars from the recovery funds
that are actually going to build roads
and facilities at Yellowstone and Yosemite
and a whole host of other places
where we are gonna make some major improvements,
in large part because of the President's leadership
and this effort.
So we have huge projects and huge plans,
but we interface with so many people here in America
and are so a part of the economic engine of this country.
- Recovery Act has been a real boom for us.
It's been welcome dollars.
The great thing about the way the National Park Service
and Yellowstone approach the Recovery Act,
the funding with that was just,
we lined up a variety of projects
that we already had in the queue
of things that we wanted to do.
And as we, as that list of projects
across the National Park Service matured,
we wanted to make sure that we were putting
a certain amount of that money into
energy conservation projects, alternative energy projects,
because we would reap the benefits of that.
- And what we hope is that
the focus of the President on this,
some of the new initiatives coming out of the
Interior Department and Secretary cells are,
permit us to reinvigorate our own passionate
interest in the National Parks,
to remind us that we are all co-owners
of the most spectacular scenery on Earth,
and our obligation as co-owners
is to just go visit this property now and then,
make sure it's being taken care of,
and put it in our will for our posterity.
- In Yellowstone, we have two seasons:
winter and construction.
(mellow banjo music)
- The CCC camps, I wish I could
see them all over the country.
I hope that all over the country,
they're in as fine condition
as the camps that I've seen today.
I wish that I could take a couple of months
off from the White House and come down here
and live with them because I know I'd get
full of health the way they have.
The only difference is that they've put on
an average of about 12 pounds a piece
since they got here, and I'm trying to
take off 12 pounds.
- [Announcer] Men from the big city
are finding work and happiness in this
government conservation camp at Yellowstone.
Far cry from the roar of the sub--
that of Old Faithful, the most famous geyser in the world.
- [Female Ranger] Take your photos now.
Photos now, it's at its tallest.
- The YCC program spawned from the CCC from the 1930s.
We then transformed that into the Youth Conservation Corps.
We teach these students to practice
environmental stewardship as they
become our leaders in the future.
- Everyone working together as a community
really gives me hope.
When you find out that kids
can actually work together and create something great,
it makes you feel really good.
- Helping students discover who they are
and who they want to be in the future
is one of the most important pieces.
(honking and cheering)
- [Obama] At the age of 11, uh, it was decided that
me, my two-year-old sister at the time,
my grandmother, and my mother would take
a trip throughout the continental United States.
And when I think about that trip,
the sight of the Grand Canyon,
the sight of bison running through a stretch of plain
at Yellowstone, it, it gave you a sense that
this was something special, this country that we have.
And it's seared into my memory
in a way that very few things have been.
- He was telling his girls and he was telling the First Lady
about when he first saw this place,
and he was telling us the stories of, uh,
the bison and approaching the bison out at the park
and other stories that he told us,
he was thinking about a time in his life,
now over 30 years ago, that he was at that same place.
So it was, uh, it was a grand moment for me to be there
with the President at Yellowstone.
- You know, the thing I remember most
was, you know, driving by and seeing,
it was elk.
And uh, I remember bison.
In fact, I ran up close to a bison.
- It's never a good idea to approach bison closely.
- We now live in a virtual world, particularly our children,
and we spend way too much time focused on
what is not reality.
And the parks offer the antidote.
- I am amazed at the number of children in this country
who have never seen such a thing as a panoramic vista,
a place where you can ascend a high point
and look around for 360 degrees
and see no evidence of buildings or fences
or farms or telephone lines.
Just sheer nature, and it's amazing
the number of folks who have not experienced that.
And I think places like this serve
to rejuvenate and refresh and inspire us
in those sorts of ways as we become
more and more of a developed place.
- [Obama] The notion that, collectively,
we come together and we say,
"We're gonna preserve some things
"that last beyond our individual lives,"
that we're gonna pass that on.
And we have to do it together.
You know, that's part of what
is, hopefully, best about our government,
and so every once in a while, we need
the ability to step back from our personal wants
and project something finer and better
for future generations.
That's what the Park District's all about.
Alright, let's go eat!
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