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National Parks: America's Best Idea

Great Nature (1933-1945) (#105)

During an economic crisis and a world war the parks provided a source of jobs and much-needed peace. [116 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Information For Teachers

Grade Levels
6-8, 9-12
Curricular Areas
Science & Technology
Social Studies
Series Length
6 episodes
Average Episode Length
121 minutes
Record Rights
Record and retain for 1 year from each broadcast. No duplication allowed.
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Series Description: The film is a human history set against the most stunning backdrop imaginable. The film works its way chronologically through the history of the national parks featuring characters -- some famous, most not, from every walk of life -- who dedicated their lives to insuring all could enjoy these places. The film explores how the national park system came to be and examines some -- but not all --of how these majestic places came to be national parks.

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All Episodes

  • The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890) (#101)

    In 1872, Congress acts to protect land that will become America's first national park, Yellowstone. [116 minutes]

  • The Last Refuge (1890-1915) (#102)

    At the end of the 19th century a conservation movement takes shape to protect America's wilderness. [146 minutes]

  • The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919) (#103)

    Established in 1916, the National Park Service protects the Grand Canyon from commercial interests. [116 minutes]

  • Going Home (1920-1933) (#104)

    The automobile allows more people to visit the parks. The Smoky Mountains and Tetons become parks. [117 minutes]

  • The Morning of Creation (1946-1980) (#106)

    American families create unforgettable memories, passing on a love of parks to the next generation. [116 minutes]

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