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National Parks. America’s Best Idea.

January 08 2010 | Beaches, Jim's Blog,
by Jim

What IS any given nation's most meaningful contribution to the world?

What is a nation's best idea? What is America's best idea?

Interesting questions to ponder.

You might say democracy but that's not our idea. I've heard it argued that jazz or baseball was the best idea the United States, as a nation, has ever had. Both subjects offer strong arguments (and both jazz and baseball, as ideas, have been explored by American film maker Ken Burns).

From my perspective I'd say that National Parks, a concept that we thought up and implemented, surpasses both baseball and jazz.

I think National Parks may well be the single best idea this nation has ever come up with.

The idea of having open spaces, protected in perpetuity for generations upon generations to enjoy, speaks to our democratic ideals as Americans. It feels closer to our core DNA. This was part of the reason that the idea for a toll road through the middle of a Park in Southern California seemed like such a horrific idea. It was like seeing dirt in the middle of a field of snow or a corporate logo on the Constitution. Some things are not for sale--our National Parks were designed to be one of them.

Find a way, via Netflix or another means, to watch this series. It will make you proud to be an American. It will help you understand the importance of key figures like John Muir. It will make you want to change your upcoming vacation plans.

It will empower you to fight for the protection of Parks along our coastlines and elsewhere.

National Parks, America's Best Idea series by Ken Burns.

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