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The National Parks: America's Best Idea, a documentary by Ken Burns

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I spent this past weekend watching Ken Burns' latest masterpiece of a documentary called "The National Parks: America's Best Ideas" which ran a marathon of the series. For me it was worth spending half of the day completely enthralled since this latest work of Mr. Burns and his collaborators specifically Duncan Dayton is something that should have been done a long time ago. Even with the limitations of the tube, I cannot but feel the majesty of the scenes that have been carefully filmed together with the beautiful descriptions of the writers and poets who have made this documentary an interesting study if not a masterpiece.

It was well written and the cinematography is to die for. It has given its viewers a fresh new look (for those who have visited the national parks) or inspiration (for those who still have to visit). The narratives together with the sceneries were effective in relating the history of how the ideas of park preservation and conservation came about. It was really eye-opening and heartwarming that the men and women before us who, I believed, were pulled by divine inspiration to lead the way for next generation to be the keepers of the land and its resources.

I am glad that this has happened because just by looking at the direction that this country is going thru now, if there were no laws to preserve the national parks, we would not be enjoying its beauty and the vast resources that these places have to offer. Unbeknowst to many, these places should not only be preserved for its aesthetic value but also for the lessons that it teaches us as to the balance of nature and civilization's survival depends on it whether we are aware of it or not.

According to latest count there are 62 US national parks including those located in Hawaii, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands. My family and I have had the opportunity to visit 2 of them: the Grand Canyon located in Arizona and the Acadia National Park in Maine.

It was said in the documentary that you have to be there to feel and see the grandeur of the Grand Canyon. Our family had this chance to see the canyon. This was just a day trip that we took in 1999 when we were vacationing in Las Vegas, Nevada. We took a group trip which is a 2-hr ride by bus. Another place that one wouldn't miss since it is on the way, bordering Nevada and Arizona is the Hoover Dam which is a man-made marvel.

Words could never describe one's feeling or emotions upon seeing the gorges and deep gauges that makes up the canyon.  The gorge is 18 miles wide, a mile deep and 277 miles long. The immensity of this place makes one think how long the earth had been in existence to create the wonder that is right in front of you.

The Acadia National Park was also another park that we visited on our way to spend our vacation in Nova Scotia in 2001. Getting to the top of the muntain which is part of the Cadillac mountains was not that hard since you can drive up to top of the boulder and as always the view up there is fantastic with land, mountains and ocean encompassing everything that your eyes can see. It is also amazing to see birds in flight from that vantage point. Since we really did not spend enough time there the first time, I have made the effort to go there this Columbus holiday to visit the park at a time when the foliage will make its magnificent transformation of colors. I just hope that by the time we get there this coming weekend, the foliage will be at its peak.

Now it is my dream to be able to visit more national parks in my future. For the meantime, I will just have to contend with watching the show to enjoy the sights until I have the opportunity to visit them. This series is available not only on your public channels but also on dvds and with a companion book. And for those who won't be able to see this on tv, according to their website, full-episodes will be available online starting October 9th. Watch this show and be awed by the greatness of this country's beauty. I am sure that after you have watched you will feel blessed that we have had men and women who have had the forsight to devote their time, money and effort to preserve this land.




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Big hugs and lots of kisses to my daughter, Karrol, for re-designing my blogsite. She is responsible for making my blog look cool... If you want to check out her own blog, visit K-Dream Palace and her contributing articles at AATheory.