National Parks

The national park system is more than America’s best idea – it’s the Declaration of Independence applied to our national landscape. Follow along with us as we explore our National Parks. View historic photos, listen to audio on how the film, "Our National Parks: America's Best Idea," was created, and learn about activities and events the park system offers.

CARETAKERS OF OUR PARKS

Our national parks, monuments, seashores, rivers, and historic sites are maintained, preserved, and even personified by the 22,000 employees and 221,000 volunteers who work at these public places. Anyone who has visited a national park has probably met a park ranger, but there are many other people who manage these treasured destinations every day. While it’s impossible to profile every person who works for the National Park Service (NPS), we have a sampling of the many types of jobs – and the many types of people who hold them – at park units across the country. 

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AN AMERICAN INVENTION

How are great films made? They start with a great story. In the case of the Ken Burns film, "The National Parks: America’s Best Idea," that story was written by Dayton Duncan. Burns and Duncan became friends in the early 1980s and as Duncan recalls, "We became friends and recognized that we both had an interest in the story of America and in telling the story of America." The League had the pleasure of interviewing Duncan earlier this year in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.

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MORE TO SEE THAN ICONIC VIEWS

Not only does the National Park Service centennial provide an opportunity to celebrate 100 years of conserving important landscapes and landmarks across America, it is a chance to plan for the future of our national park system — and how Americans connect with it.

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CELEBRATING THE CENTENNIAL

Our national park system is much more than a pretty face. From national monuments and urban getaways to the places where America was born, national parks protect our past and provide the historical context to help us find our best future. The National Park Service is entrusted with preserving these special places for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of all Americans.

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AUDIO INTERVIEW

The League had the pleasure of interviewing Dayton Duncan, co-producer of the film "The National Parks: America’s Best Idea," earlier this year when PBS re-aired the film in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. 

LISTEN HERE >>
(This link will take you to the League's YouTube page.)
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HISTORICAL PHOTOS

Take a look back at the men and women who fought to preserve and protect our national parks as well as the many families and friends who have enjoyed these public lands over the last 100 years.

VIEW PHOTOS >>
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