Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The National Parks "Morning of Creation"

Four months after I viewed the 1st 5 of the 6 episodes of Ken Burn’s The National Parks, I finally got hold of the 6th and final episode entitled “The Morning of Creation 1946-1980.”

This series in high definition that runs for over 12 hours chronicles the creation, struggles and challenges in sustaining America’s 58 national parks and monuments with documented videos  and visuals as early as 1872.

In the final episode, filmmaker Ken Burn and writer Dayton Duncan  feature Mission 66, an infrastructure boost to cope with the increasing park visitors now reaching 62 million a year, Adolph Murie, a biologist with a radical view and approach to wolves and predatory animal treatment, the conversion of Alaska’s 56 million acres to state protected land said to be the largest expansion in history and the challenge facing the 21st century.

As in the previous episodes, “The Morning of Creation” shows video documentaries, old and digital photographs, historical newspaper clippings, poetry and quotes from stakeholders, historians, government officials, relatives and writers matched with appropriate landscape sceneries. Ending dramatically with statements from ranger park superintendents, writers and by others touched by the experience of the national park, the film left an impression that all the struggles in the past were meaningful because their children in visiting the protected national parks today had the same feeling their predecessors went through in the infancy stage of the national parks creation. The parks now have been creating memories for them lasting for a lifetime. They did so because the park preserved nature, history and their identity. The scenic sights and sounds only sensed at the park have been reconnecting the past with the present.

Towards the end, writer Terry Tempest Williams posed a call, “I think the challenge of our national parks in the 21st century will be the challenge of restoration. And not only are the national parks a gift but a covenant. They’re a covenant with the future saying, “this is where we were, this is what we loved and now it is in your hands.”
Poster from the Sierra Club John Muir exhibit site
The final message is appropriately left for John Muir which perhaps is the driver why we need to preserve parks because  . . .One learns that the world, though made, is yet being made, that is still the morning of creation.

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on seas and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.”
After viewing the 1st set of episodes, I extended invitation to friends to view the film with me.  Completing “The National Parks,” I now extend the invitation to plan and to go and see the parks with me.
Photos lifted from

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