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Human Interest Stories

National Parks- America's Best Idea

by Brenda Moore
August 02, 2023
comment 5 Comments

I enjoyed watching the Ken Burns 2009 documentary series “The National Parks” America’s Best Idea.” The idea of protecting natural wonders began with Frederick Law Olmsted’s visit to Niagara Falls in 1869 while he was working on the Buffalo Park System. He and his friends were shocked by the landscape. “There were mills and factories everywhere, hovels, fences and patent medicine signs.” The early 19th century Industrial Revolution had taken away the beauty of the falls with buildings going up to harness the power of the falls. It was a husker's paradise. The falls had become commercialized. Olmstead and his traveling companions were so appalled they shared their concerns. Environmentalists were made aware of the commercialization and the lessening flow of the Niagara and took action. The Falls finally got protection when Grover Cleveland became governor of NY and established Niagara Falls as a State Park. Olmsted and Vaux landscaped around the falls on the US side to enhance the natural beauty of the falls.

Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park
Old Faithful Geyser at Yellowstone National Park


The first National Park was Yellowstone National Park. The goal was to protect its natural beauty and discourage commercialization. Yellowstone couldn’t be protected as a State Park since the park falls within three states. The land was being exploited and being overdeveloped as well as animals were being overhunted. Ulysses Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act into law, creating the first National Park. Because of this we can enjoy the wonders of Yellowstone National Park, a varied and fascinating landscape. It is one of my favorite National Parks.

As I travel around the country, I always try to take the time to visit National and State Parks. While visiting these Parks I’m always reminded of the lyrics of the Woody Guthrie Song – “This Land is your Land”

This land is your land, and this land is my land From California to the New York Island

From the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and me

As I went walking that ribbon of highway I saw above me that endless skyway

Saw below me that golden valley

This land was made for you and me

I roamed and rambled, and I've followed my footsteps To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts

All around me a voice was sounding This land was made for you and me

When the sun come shining, then I was strolling

And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling The voice was chanting as the fog was lifting

This land was made for you and me

The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, West Virginia
The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, West Virginia


National Parks are our lands. In my recent travels to Yosemite National Park, Crater Lake National Park, Mt. Rainer National Park, and Multnomah Falls National Scenic Area, I saw magnificent rock formations, waterfalls, wildflowers, wildlife and varying weather. I live only 7 miles from the newest National Park, The New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. I'm so glad these areas are protected so that I can enjoy their natural beauty. I encourage members to take advantage and visit their State and our National Parks. They truly are “America’s Best Idea.”


President of Eastside Garden Club,TFGC

by Jeanie Jackson on Wed, 08/02/2023 - 08:59

Years ago I was involved in a terrible auto.obile accident that implied a long recovery. As a registered nurse Accredited in case management I consulted neuro for permission to engage in a project to get back to health. Living in Las Cruces ,New Mexico I contacted AAA to plan out a driving trip to touch every National Park from my home to the Canadian border one way and travel another return route further West to see all parks on return home. My love for conservation was born and the magic of all the beauty healed me. With cane in hand I traversed every park I had seen in Magazines. I had a pact with neuro to travel one hour at a time ,get out and walk as much as tolerated. The flora and fauna was so stunning and after two months of my therapy I had improved so much that my spirit was renewed and today have no health restrictions and a heart full of gratitude for all of state and national parks.

national parks open house

by James Pavelka on Wed, 08/02/2023 - 10:04

For all who read this, All of the National Parks are having free admission of Friday August 4th, 2023. If you can try to visit a park with family and friends and enjoy nature and get inspired to get people to join a garden club. Maybe take pictures and present it at one of your club meetings. There is even an award that you can apply for for doing this. Have fun and enjoy nature!

President of Wymberley Garden Club, Savannah, GA

by Kathryn Shields on Wed, 08/02/2023 - 12:02

This land was made for you and me! The national parks never disappoint. I excited the Western parks after college and then made sure I got my kids there in high school. You could spend a lifetime visiting all of f the national parks. One park thats out of the way but truly amazing is Big Bend.

First Vice-President

by Donna Rouch on Thu, 08/03/2023 - 09:07

The National Parks is a jewel in America's crown. We need to protect our national parks for our future and our children's future. Great article!

President FGCMD (Maryland)

by Susie Middleton on Thu, 08/03/2023 - 10:46

In case you didn't know, if you are a US Citizen 62 or older you can purchase a lifetime pass for $80 These passes provide access to, and use of Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee*. The pass admits the pass holder and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder plus 3 adults at per person fee areas.

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