Posted by: illinigirl | October 3, 2009

Vacation planning. . . National parks!

I love Ken Burns and all of his stuff.  I fell in love with his Civil War series in grade school, and have been in love with everything I’ve ever seen by him.  My other favorite is “The War,” which was on last year.  I got my parents hooked on it, too.  I am a total nerd for this stuff.

He did a series on National Parks on PBS last week.  Sadly, I forgot about it until my cousin Kathy wrote about it on facebook. . . the lucky thing is that there were a few episodes on LATE Thursday night so I got to DVR a few episodes to watch later.

Well, seeing as I’ve been sicky-icky, I watched one two-hour episode tonight.  HOLY COW. . . LOVE IT.

Beautiful photographs and videos. . . and makes me want to plan trips for next year.

The most interesting parts of this documentary so far are:

  • The stories of Secretary of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Interior Harold Ickes and their influence on the national park system.
  • The importance of Ansel Adams to the national park system.  He was instrumental in making Kings Canyon a national park with a beautiful picture book he published and sent to Harold Ickes. . . Ickes passed it on to FDR, who worked to make this a national park after seeing the book.  He later went to work for the national park system as a photographer and visited every park but the Everglades.  What an amazing job!  Of course, I have seen his pictures before but never knew his story. I’m totally buying a coffee table of the national parks. . . The way he used his art to influence and inspire is really amazing.
  • The story of Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. . . Did you know that Grand Teton National Park was initially only the mountainous area, and that John D. Rockefeller bought the Jackson Hole valley area and donated it to the government as a part of the national park?    It was a giant political battle in Wyoming, and Rockefeller nearly sold the land because the government did not initially accept it.  Rockefeller actually donated land and money to many national parks. So cool.

Here’s the thing. . . since my most recent trips to the Pacific Northwest, I now have six states to see. . .

  • Utah
  • Montana
  • Idaho
  • New Mexico
  • Hawaii
  • Alaska

Now, at first, I was not very excited about most of the states I have left. . . but after watching some cool things on T.V. and looking at some friends’ pictures, I am way excited about these states.  I am definitely going to Montana next year as a result. . . and Idaho.  If I go to Yellowstone, I can hit up both!

Check out this really cool website for looking up states and finding national parks there. . . I am excited!

It appears the national park series no longer on TV in my area. . . so I will have to buy the DVDs.  (Yes, Mom and Dad, I will share with you, you lucky ducks!)  Check it out if you ever get the chance!



  1. My dad lives/works at Yellowstone in the summers. It’s beautiful there. When you start planning your trip, let me know and I’ll give you some pointers.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  2. PS: I just went to the PBS website. It appears the episodes are available online. Score!

  3. My mom’s sister has lived in NM for 40+ years…it’s so, so beautiful there. I’d love to go back!

    Also – bit of trivia – Matt and I took the Nat’l Parks and Monuments class at the U of I, basically so that we could take a class together. I’m pretty sure we were a couple of the only non-athletes in the class 🙂 But it was really enjoyable.

  4. i love alaska. especially in the summer when it’s light out for a ridiculously long time.

  5. Uh Oh I am really de-lurking now. I had seen the previews for the National Park Series and was looking forward to them. I tuned in on Monday night to watch, then Amy comes in wants to know what the heck I am watching and then starts to make fun of me for watching it. She could not stand the show and changed the channel. We read your post and I pointed it out to her that you watched that type of stuff too. She said she saw it but was not going to say anything to me about it. Thanks Illinigirl for backing me up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: