28 September 2009

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

Ranger at the Castillo de San Marcos

The Ken Burn's documentary on the National Park Service runs this week. Last night's two hour opening was a treat. Before I left the NPS for civilian chores - - a supervisor warned me not to quit before I gave a real park out west a try. I had only worked in heavily visited urban sites. It was never a regret until last night.

18 comments:

longwing said...

This is a great show. One downside of all this tradishness is that it gives one an east coast bias. Nothing really wrong with that but when you live in the west it's kind of a waste.

tintin said...

I agree with you on the show. My experience is not everyone is wearing bolo ties and boots out west. Having said that, the 'relaxed' nature of things out there is a slippery pinnacle.

Baron said...

Longwing, a blog is merely a point of view. Take what you like from it and discard the rest. See "American Beauty" below.

Anonymous said...

http://www.takimag.com/article/the_unbearable_whiteness_of_ken_burns/

The Unbearable Whiteness of Ken Burns

.......

Ken Burns is really full of sh*t, as the above article clearly lays out.

Now, our national parks, that's another story.

I frequently visit NPS historic sites (the 'park' service, for example runs Theodore R. birth place) and I am always impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm of the park rangers/officers/staff, whatever.

One funny story. I was visiting TR's birthplace and I saw a short nps guy w/ an Italian surname on his name tag i said to myself 'eh, patronage job, could probably give a damn about TR' i asked him a question about a book and he talked my ear off about TR for a half hour.

with the NPS, I now have a 'positive' prejudice - I assume any employee will be highly competent and enthusiastic.

Anonymous said...

Out west? But you don't like paths or woods as stated in American Beauty! Or camping!

You were a fantastic NPS interpreter of events of the era, as I recall.

-DB

tintin said...

DB- I'd camp here:

http://www.yosemitepark.com/Accommodations_TheAhwahnee_PhotoGallery.aspx

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm....I have some fond memeories of the Castillo....ME

Anonymous said...

Forthcoming segments inclusive of The G.S.M.N.P., the most visited of the National Parks. Related enigmatic photographer > www.georgemasa.com
T

Pink Martini said...

Being born and raised 'out west' and from my perspective the scope of the western parks, Yosemite and Yellowstone, are incomparable to those of the eastern battlefields and congested attractions I have visited. There is something spiritual that one can tap into if so desired. Being grounded on granite and closing your eyes and only hearing the wind and water is transcending. There is also something about locations that have not seen overt carnage or constant high traffic per square foot. The energy is different. This is not to say coming back to the Ahwahnee at the end of the day to loosen one of your Friday belts and to imbibe in the other wouldn't be the perfect vacation. I think it would be.

I have mentioned you on my blog today. You have inspired me from your Friday Belt last week. Thank you.

Michael Rowe said...

Nice balls in this shot.

Pigtown-Design said...

One of my old friends' father was the chief of all of the NPs west of the Rockies, so she couldn't work in one until he retired. She was super at Fort McHenry, my virtual back yard in Baltimore, and as soon as he retired, she took over as Asst. Super at Glen Canyon. We did a five-day drive out there and as an east coaster, it was the most amazing place I'd ever been.

She's 3rd generation NPS and her grandfather's buried at Grand Canyon where he was Super.

Great stories you're telling. Thank you.

tintin said...

Michael- They're so big I don't know how he walks.

Pigtown Design- Three generations is pretty amazing. I've seen a lot of two but not three. And I think the family was touched on in the last episode.

Pigtown-Design said...

Thanks for letting me know. I just checked the PBS website and there they were! The John Cook Family.

Anonymous said...

I used to live in King of Prussia, PA, which is a stone's throw from Valley Forge. I can attest to the beauty of the park and the stateliness of the houses you lived in. I was an historical interpreter at the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton and was a tour guide at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County, PA. Washington Crossing is a state park with some wonderful 18th and 17th century houses. Of course, this site is where Washington crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776.

I never had the opportunity to live in one of those wonderful old houses when I was employed by the site, but I will be moving to a 1740 farmhouse in Doylestown, PA, next month. The farm is home to about 20 Arabian and Thoroughbred horses and ponies.

tintin said...

anon 23:14- Sounds beautiful. Bucks and Chester counties are two of my favorite rural spots. There's something about a PA stone farmhouse from the 18th C sitting next to a bend in the road that is so calming.

Anonymous said...

For me, Bucks County makes living in Pennsylvania palatable.

Anonymous said...

For me, Bucks County makes living in Pennsylvania palatable.

Anonymous said...

I love this photo of you!
You should have posted a photo of yourself in your British uniform. If I can find the photo of you, me and Martha, I'll scan and send it to you. You looked so handsome in that uniform. I remember when I gave tours on St. George Street, I had to keep my blonde hair covered with a scarf and a big straw hat. The ladies that worked with me always smiled when you came in to visit me in your uniform. I suppose we looked very young and awfully sweet together. MB