I’ve been completely obsessed with the new Ken Burns documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, which has been running on PBS nightly since Sunday. This has been a pretty good week for this obsession, because the only thing I had to miss was going to an open mic on Tuesday, and I’d been to one for something like six weeks in a row so the world was probably glad for the break anyway. Detroit Public Television is running National Parks at 8 p.m. and then repeating it at 10 p.m. and 2:30 a.m., which makes them pretty obsessed with it too. But it’s beautifully shot—ok, they had Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, Denali and Mt. Rainer to work with, how could it not be?—and full of geeky historical detail related in an engaging way. The soundtrack is infectious, and one guitar piece, “Sligo Creek” by Al Petteway, has been a constant earworm for over a month (since they used it in the promo pieces).
The show makes me want to go to a national park, any park, I don’t care. It’s been a long time and I’m overdue. One of the consistent themes is how people like John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Stephen Mather (the first director of the National Park Service) and many others find that the parks heal their spirit and makes them whole. I know what they mean, and I haven’t even been to the big showy western parks yet. Here’s my whole list:
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota (was a National Monument first time I was there)
- Badlands National Park, South Dakota
- Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota (but only briefly)
- Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee & North Carolina
- Keweenaw National Historical Park, Michigan (but before designation as such)
- Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Kentucky/Virginia/Tennessee
- Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Montana
- Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota
- White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
- Home Of Franklin D Roosevelt National Historic Site (Hyde Park), New York
Which national parks have YOU been to? Non-USians and their parks NOT excluded.
Didn’t realize FDR’s home would be on the list….