Announcer: Our national parks belong to all of us.
They are places of discovery, they are places of inspiration, they are America's best idea.
Major funding provided by: the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.
Additional funding was provided by the Park Foundation in support of a clean and healthy environment; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations-- dedicated to strengthening America's future through education; the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks; the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation; the Pew Charitable Trusts; by General Motors; by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and by generous contributions to this PBS station from viewers like you.
Bank of America is proud to be exclusive corporate underwriter for the films of Ken Burns and hopes you enjoy this encore presentation.
MAN: I often wonder what man will do with the mountains.
Will he cut down all the trees to make ships and houses?
If so, what will be the final and far upshot?
Will a better civilization come in accord with obvious nature, and all this wild beauty be set to human poetry and song?
What is the human part of the mountains' destiny?
MAN: Yes, it's transcendent, just as walking into a cathedral is transcendent.
But what could be more cathedral in feel than Yosemite Valley or the Grand Canyon?
I mean, John Muir--I think he thought it was somewhat ironic that there's a chapel in Yosemite Valley because you're building a church in the greatest cathedral in America.
And I think that when people go into these spaces, they find that they have enough spirit that they can fill the space and they can be filled by those spaces.
PETER COYOTE: By 1914, the national park idea had expanded beyond Yellowstone and Yosemite, where the notion of setting aside special places for all Americans had first taken root half a century earlier.
snowcapped Mount Rainier in the Pacific Northwest; at the ancient cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde in the Southwestern deserts; within the dark caverns of South Dakota's Wind Cave; in the reflection of the deep blue waters of Crater Lake in Oregon; and at half a dozen other locations the nation had decided to preserve, usually at the urging of individual Americans willing to turn their passion for a particular landscape into a crusade.
MAN: There is no master plan whatsoever for these parks.
What's happening is that people are identifying interesting places that look like they're under some kind of threat or look like they might be worth preserving.
And a law gets written, a park gets created, and, boom, it's added to the set.
But the set is not a system.
The set has no coherence to it.
There are no regular rules for governing it all.
It was pretty chaotic in the early years.
COYOTE: The Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and War each claimed some responsibility for the parks.
But in truth, no one was in charge.
Nothing proved it more than the fact that the city of San Francisco had been given permission to construct a dam in Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Valley, and submerge a scenic wonder under a massive water reservoir.
MAN: Hetch Hetchy was a crucial turning point in the history of the national parks because a valley was lost.
A beautiful valley was lost.
It was a pebble that dropped in everybody's pool.
To make them ask, "What future do we want?
"Do we want there to be some places where you go "where things aren't necessarily convenient "and we don't measure all of the greatness of the United States in a ledger book?"
COYOTE: The battle over Hetch Hetchy had been the last for John Muir--the mountain prophet who had done so much to save the remaining vestiges of pristine America.
Now an unlikely alliance would carry on in his name and in his spirit.
Railroad barons, who saw in the parks a chance to increase their profits, as well as some of the nation's wealthiest men, who at a time when the disparity between rich and poor was growing as never before, would heed a higher calling and use their fortunes to advance the public good.
The national park idea was nearly 50 years old, but some of the nation's most spectacular landscapes were still unprotected, vulnerable to the acquisitive and extractive energies that 20th-century America possessed in such abundance.
Special places in every corner of America were threatened.
Volcanic islands in the Pacific, where the most elemental forces of nature were still on display, and along the Atlantic seaboard of New England, a much smaller island treasured for its bucolic tranquility, the continent's highest mountain rising from the tundra of Alaska-- the nation's most remote territory... and in the deserts of Arizona, a mile-deep gash in the Earth, a canyon of equally indescribable immensity and beauty.
In John Muir's absence, a new leader would step forward-- an impulsive and seemingly self-confident businessman, who would promote the parks as never before, and then struggle to bring them under a single management.
Where Muir had changed things with his words, he would do it with his wealth and connections.
Where Muir had emphasized the ecstatic, he would emphasize the economic and patriotic.
But even more than John Muir, Stephen Mather had his own intensely personal reason that drew him to the parks.
WOMAN: Our national parks are not only our best idea, but our highest ideal.
I think that every time we walk into a national park, we make vows.
We make vows that we will live beyond ourselves.
We make vows that we will not just care about short-term gains, but long-term vistas.
We remember the sweetness of engagement, that this is the open space of democracy.
And it is, as John Muir has reminded us, the beginning of creation.
COYOTE: Not far from Longs Peak in Colorado in the heart of the Rocky Mountains was an inn owned and operated by an aspiring nature writer named Enos Mills.
Mills had first come to the Rockies from Kansas at age 14 on doctor's orders that without clean alpine air, he would not live to adulthood.
Thirty years later, he was still there traipsing alone from one mountain peak to another.
Three times a week, Mills lectured his guests, extolling the beauty of the Rockies and crusading to have the Longs Peak region preserved, not for the rich or royalty, who for years had been buying up the surrounding area, but for everyone as a national park.
For his inspiration, Mills credited John Muir.
"I owe everything to Muir," he said.
It was Muir's writings and the chance encounter with the famous man himself that had given Mills' life new purpose and direction.
"I will glory in your success," a sick and aging Muir had written to Mills as the younger man pushed for a national park in the Colorado Rockies.
"Strange," Muir added, "that the government is so slow "to learn the value of parks."
But as congressional hearings began, word arrived that John Muir had died.
"It will be a great courtesy to the memory of that grand old man," one person testified, "if you gentlemen unanimously recommend "creation of this park."
Enos Mills' dream came true.
Rocky Mountain National Park was finally established.
And for the rest of his life, Mills would be called the John Muir of the Rockies.
MAN: I remember one afternoon when I was 25, probably.
I was in Rocky Mountain National Park.
And I started walking.
I started climbing up through a pine forest.
And I thought, What would happen if I never turned back?
What would happen if I just kept walking?
Where would I end up?
Where would this trail take me?
I had no matches, no flashlight, no poncho.
I did turn back.
But I still wonder what would have happened if I hadn't turned back.
[Train bell clanging] MAN AS STEPHEN MATHER: We have as yet no national park system.
The parks have just happened.
Nowhere in official Washington can an enquirer find an office of the national parks or a desk devoted solely to their management.
Uncle Sam has simply not waked up about his precious parks.
COYOTE: In the summer of 1914, a vacationing millionaire named Stephen Mather visited Sequoia and Yosemite National Parks in California and was disgusted by what he saw.
With only the army periodically policing the parks, hiking trails were in poor condition.
Cattle could still be found grazing there, and speculators had managed to file claims on choice parcels of land, planning to log the sequoias that Mather believed should be protected forever.
Mather dashed off an angry letter to an old college schoolmate-- Franklin K. Lane, the secretary of the interior, whose standing among conservationists was already low since Lane had personally approved construction of the Hetch Hetchy dam.
MAN AS FRANKLIN K. LANE: Dear Steve, if you don't like the way the national parks are being run, why don't you come down to Washington and run them yourself?
COYOTE: Soon enough, Mather showed up in Lane's office and agreed to serve as one of his assistants, overseeing the national parks.
A nationwide search could not have found a better man for the job.
Tall and athletic with prematurely white hair and piercing blue eyes, Mather possessed what reporters called "incandescent enthusiasm and an 8-cylinder, "60-mile-per-hour sort of personality."
WOMAN: To describe Mr. Mather, one must roll all the matinee idols into one and then put the red blood of a real man into him.
He has the kindest of blue eyes, as clear and frank as a child's, but the mouth and chin of a man who has fought his way in life.
COYOTE: Born in California to a family with deep patrician roots in New England, Mather had taken a job as a reporter for the "New York Sun" and then moved on as a sales manager for the Pacific Coast Borax company, where his special genius for promotion found a national outlet.
He produced a flood of publicity by glamorizing the company's beginnings in California's Death Valley.
MAN: He took Death Valley and made it a romantic place.
He took Borax, this household material, gave it the romantic name 20-mule team Borax.
He would write letters to magazines posing as a contented housewife, talking about how her life had been transformed by the use of Borax.
He wasn't meeting a demand for Borax, He was creating a demand for Borax.
COYOTE: Mather had quickly realized he could make more money working for himself and helped start a competing company.
By 1914 at age 47, he was rich beyond belief and restless for a new challenge.
Years earlier during a climb up Mount Rainier, he had discovered that during the darkest moments of his life, time in the great outdoors seemed to calm his sometimes fragile nerves and revive his prodigious energies.
And he counted as one of the highlights of his life meeting the legendary John Muir on a hike in Sequoia National Park.
Mather told Secretary Lane he would work for him, but for only one year.
He was assigned a legal assistant in the secretary's office-- a fellow Californian and Berkeley graduate named Horace Albright, an earnest and ambitious young man who had arrived in Washington a year earlier so poor, he wore a borrowed suit and took a room at the local YMCA.
Like Mather and so many others, Albright had also been inspired by a personal encounter with John Muir.
But much of his work so far had been spent responding to angry letters protesting the decision to flood the Hetch Hetchy Valley.
MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT: I had to learn to counterfeit Lane's signature and sign letters in reply, trying to explain why the dam should be built.
I hated this job, for I was in sympathy with the protests.
COYOTE: Albright had been intending to quit and returned to California to practice law, when Mather entered his life and persuaded him to stay for one more year.
MAN AS ALBRIGHT: I was knowledgeable about Washington, the Interior Department, and the Congress, was quite good at detail and administrative work, which he obviously hated, and above all, was loyal and conscientious.
He was 47.
I was only 24 and a bit in awe of him.
MAN: Mather was a great conceptualizer, and Horace was a great implementer.
They complemented each other like father, like son.
I mean, he was the reverse side of the same coin.
COYOTE: After being sworn in, Mather's first action was to more than double Horace Albright's yearly pay with $2,400 from his own pocket.
Next, he hired Robert Sterling Yard, a gifted editor of the "New York Herald" to begin churning out a flurry of publicity for the parks, luring Yard to Washington with the promise of $5,000 a year and a personal secretary, all of it paid for by Mather, not the government.
MAN: Stephen Mather was the right man in the right place at the right time-- wildly enthusiastic about the national parks, plus a millionaire who could speak to all the millionaire industrialists who were developing the parks, namely the railroads.
Preservationists themselves during the period are asking for more cooperation with the railroads, more responsible development of the national parks to keep at bay the argument that "nobody goes here."
Because the Hetch Hetchy Valley had only 2,000 visitors a year, the argument was used against it.
It was said that only effeminate members of the Sierra Club camp in Hetch Hetchy Valley, but 500,000 people from San Francisco could get a drink out of it.
And Stephen Mather understands that if he doesn't get people in the parks, if he doesn't get 500,000 people visiting a park in his own right, he's going to lose out to the arguments when the dams and reservoirs come down the pike.
COYOTE: Mather wined and dined congressmen and senators, newspaper and magazine publishers, pushed through legislation that would allow private individuals to make gifts of land and money to the parks, and began making plans for a whirlwind inspecti>; tour of the national treasures now entrusted to his care.
MAN AS ALBRIGHT: With ideas popping from Mather's head every minute, he simply couldn't sit still at a desk and handle details.
Talking over an idea meant listening, while he restlessly paced, gesturing to make his points, his words barely keeping up with his mile-a-minute brain.
I thanked my stars I was young, strong, and healthy.
His energy would have killed someone who wasn't.
COYOTE: Before 1915 ended, Mather and Albright would travel nearly 35,000 miles.
In Colorado, they were there with Enos Mills and a crowd of 300 for the dedication of Rocky Mountain National Park.
At Mount Rainier in Washington State, Mather decided the superintendent was a political hack and fired him on the spot.
At Yosemite, he learned that the 56-mile long Tioga Road, the only east-west road through the park, was still in private hands and in terrible disrepair.
Mather got out his checkbook again, putting up half of the $15,500 price tag and raising an equal amount from wealthy friends.
Then he just as quickly gave it away to become part of the park forever.
And during a brief visit with Horace Albright to the Grand Canyon, still only a national monument and still under the control of the Forest Service, Mather became convinced that it needed greater protection.
"Make this unbelievable wonder your next national park," he said.
MAN AS ALBRIGHT: It seemed impossible that every new national park appeared more spectacular than the last, or at least more unusual.
[Wind] As I stood gaping at the awesome beauty, Mather joined me.
[Thunder] Neither of us spoke for some time.
Then I heard him say, "Horace, what God-given opportunity "has come our way to preserve wonders like these before us."
COYOTE: Mather invited a group of 15 influential Americans-- prominent editors and publishers, politicians, leading businessmen, and railroad builders-- to join him for two weeks in the Sierra Nevada of California.
He called it his Mather mountain party.
And he paid for it all, from the newfangled air mattresses placed under their sleeping bags to a Chinese cook, who brought along a sheet-metal stove to prepare gourmet dinners.
Breakfasts included fresh fruit, steak, eggs, sausages, and hot, freshly-baked rolls.
Suppers were capped off by English plum pudding with brandy sauce, all of it served on white linen tablecloths with fine silverware and china.
GEORGE HARTZOG: He had two concepts--pressing the flesh.
You got to go meet them in person.
Don't write to them.
Go shake their hands.
And secondly, go show it to them because you don't get anywhere just telling them about it.
They got to experience it like you have.
And he made converts.
And he took people, not the parishioners who were singing in the choir, but the members who didn't go to church yet.
He was bringing them to the parks and putting them in the choir.
COYOTE: Coming across a campsite littered with tin cans and paper, he got his wealthy friends to help pick up the mess.
They spent a night at Redwood Meadow, just outside the boundary of Sequoia National Park, amidst a privately-owned stand of majestic trees Mather could not bear to think might be cut down.
He bought the grove and donated it to the nation.
Slowly, the group worked its way up the western flank of the Sierra, fishing, hiking, and swimming in cold mountain streams.
Then the hardiest of the bunch decided to ascend Mount Whitney.
At 14,494 feet, the tallest peak in the 48 states, from which they could survey the vast wilderness John Muir, and now Mather, wanted preserved.
By the end of their two weeks in the outdoors, Albright said, everyone in the party "looked like a caveman," but his boss had converted them all into disciples for his cause.
And when they gathered for their last meal together, he sent them on their way with an exhortation.
MAN AS MATHER: Now, I want you to know that our job is not over.
It is just beginning.
Remember that God has given us these beautiful lands, but none of this will mean anything unless we have a safe haven for these wilderness places.
We must have a National Park Service.
Every one of us must pull our oar, go out and spread the gospel.
DAYTON DUNCAN: He had met John Muir, and he knew the ecstasy that Muir had talked about.
He knew the healing power of nature, but he added to that this notion of patriotism.
He called the parks "vast schoolrooms of Americanism," that if you bring a person to a park, they will feel better about the nation that was saving this place.
He was willing to wrap the park idea in the American flag, and perhaps somewhat justly so, but he also saw it as a tool to help promote the parks and to get the political support he needed to do the things he wanted to do.
MAN: Napi, the old man, came down from his home in the sun, to help his people, the Blackfeet.
When his work was done, he went up into the mountains, where he came to two lakes.
There he said to himself, "I believe I will go up "on that highest mountain and change myself into stone."
In the crevice in the mountain, he lay down with just his face peeking out and turned himself into a rock.
He is still there, watching for people to come looking for him.
COYOTE: On the border of Montana and Canada in the northern reaches of the Rockies, where glaciers could still be found sculpting and polishing mountains rising 10,000 feet into the sky and alpine cascades tumbled down to form more than 650 lakes, was Glacier National Park-- established by Congress in 1910.
For centuries, the Blackfeet Indians had claimed the land as their own.
But during a mining boom that brought in swarms of prospectors, they had been pressured into signing a new treaty, giving up the mountain portion of their reservation.
MAN: The mountains have been my last refuge.
Chief mountain is my head.
Now my head is cut off.
MAN: When you walk into any natural national park, you're walking into somebody's homeland.
You're walking into somebody's house.
You're walking into somebody's church.
You're walking into somebody's place, where they've lived since the time the Creator made it for them.
And so you're walking into someplace that has been utilized for generations upon generations in every form you could imagine.
This was our homeland.
COYOTE: When Congress failed to appropriate adequate funds for Glacier National Park's administration, the Great Northern Railway felt free to treat the park as its own little mountain kingdom.
From the very beginnings of the park movement, long before Stephen Mather burst upon the scene, railroad companies had been busily selling America's parks.
More tourists riding the rails meant more money for them.
ALFRED RUNTE: The railroads make scenery a national asset.
They make scenery a national business.
Every railroad tried to have a national park that would be its very own.
So the Santa Fe develops the Grand Canyon and wants it to be a full-fledged national park.
Northern Pacific is in Yellowstone.
Union Pacific will come to West Yellowstone.
The Great Northern Railway will go to Glacier.
Northern Pacific will also go out to Mount Rainier.
The Great Northern Railway will follow it out to Mount Rainier.
The Southern Pacific will develop Yosemite and Sequoia.
Their land agents, their people, their passenger agents will be in the halls of Congress, cajoling Congress silently from the wings.
"Make national parks, so we can have more tourists going "to the national parks and have "this new and wonderful industry."
COYOTE: On every Great Northern Railway brochure and timetable, on every company press release and billboard, 3 words were always attached, "See America first."
Western boosters had been using the slogan for more than a decade, part of a promotional campaign aimed at a very specific audience--- upper middle class white Americans, predominantly from the East Coast, who were spending an estimated $500 million each year vacationing in Europe.
RUNTE: "You want cathedrals?
"We've got them in Yosemite Valley.
"You want to see "the architecture here?
"We've got it "at the Grand Canyon.
"Why are you Americans going to Europe to spend "your hard-earned dollars over there "when you have the Alps right here in Glacier National Park?"
"Spend your dollars at home.
[Man yodeling on soundtrack] COYOTE: The Great Northern liked to promote Glacier National Park as America's Switzerland.
When World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, closing off overseas travel, the railroads saw a golden opportunity.
The Great Northern dispatched a group of Blackfeet Indians to tour the East.
They camped in teepees on the roof of New York City's McAlpin hotel, rode the subway, and visited the Brooklyn Bridge, attracted huge crowds when they performed war dances at the annual Travel and Vacation show.
Everywhere they went, the press referred to them not as the Blackfeet but as the Indians of Glacier National Park.
Blackfeet Indians were paid to greet arriving passengers in full regalia, and they set up an array of teepees for those who wanted what the railroad called "an authentic Western experience" at 50 cents a night.
GERARD BAKER: In the early days of the national parks, the Indians were brought back not as a people who would tell a story, but as somebody who can dance for the tourists, as somebody who can sing for the tourists, with their feathers, their markings on their faces, their buckskin outfits, their bells, their drums.
They were expected to be the Indian--to sing, to dance, and to use the terms that the tourists would be using in those days.
For example, "How."
That's all they would say... and then do their dances.
COYOTE: While some park purists worried that the railroads already wielded too much influence, Stephen Mather saw them as partners, not only to promote the parks, but to help him in his quest to create a separate park service.
DUNCAN: If you think of Mather as sort of an acolyte of John Muir but taking things into a new direction.
He did remember from John Muir, "Nothing dollarable is safe."
And so how do you make it safe?
You make it dollarable by saying, "OK, there is this value to national parks "beyond the beauty, beyond the sentimentality, "beyond spirituality.
"There's a dollar value to it.
"We've always had the railroads.
"And if we attach that to it, we can get chambers of commerce, "and we can form this movement "that will protect the parks."
And what's interesting about it is while he's pushing this sort of economic argument as far and as hard as he can, no one was an example of the healing power, the spiritual power, the rejuvenation of being in a national park more than Stephen Mather.
MAN AS MARK TWAIN: I turned my eyes upon the volcano again.
For a mile and a half in front of us and half a mile on either side, the floor of the abyss was magnificently illuminated.
Like the campfires of a great army far away, it looked like a colossal railroad map of the state of Massachusetts done in chain lightning on a midnight sky.
Imagine a coal black sky shivered into a tangled network of angry fire.
I thought it possible that its like had not been seen since the children of Israel wandered on their long march through the desert over a path illuminated by the mysterious pillar of fire.
And I was sure that I now had a vivid conception of what the majestic pillar of fire was like, which almost amounted to a revelation.
The smell of sulfur is strong, but not unpleasant to a sinner.
COYOTE: Back in 1866, a young newspaper reporter writing under the pen name Mark Twain had been among the first tourists to stay at the new Volcano House on the rim of Kilauea-- an active volcano on Hawaii's big island, the home, according to native Hawaiians, of Pele-- the goddess of destruction and creation.
Twain's colorful descriptions helped launch his career and brought the islands' attractions to the attention of thousands of Americans.
"Compared to the huge caldera of Kilauea "with its lakes of fire," Twain wrote, "Italy's Mount Vesuvius was just a soup kettle."
The nearby Mauna Loa, also an active volcano, was even bigger, rising 56,000 feet from the bottom of the Pacific-- 13,679 of them above sea level-- the most massive mountain on Earth.
And on the island of Maui was the dormant volcano called Haleakala, the house of the sun.
Twain climbed to its 10,000-foot summit, peered into its vast and desolate crater, and with his companions, spent the afternoon idly pushing boulders off the edge, simply to watch them tumble thousands of feet to the crater's floor.
"It was magnificent sport," he wrote.
"We wore ourselves out at it."
After camping on the crater's edge, they awoke early the next morning with a blanket of clouds far below their feet, stretching endlessly across the Pacific toward the rising sun.
MAN AS TWAIN: I felt like the last man, neglected of the judgment and left pinnacled in mid-Heaven-- a forgotten relic of a vanished world.
COYOTE: By 1916, 50 years after Twain's visit, tourists were now coming in ever greater numbers to gawk at Kilauea's fiery displays.
As proof that they had been there, some would break off stalactites in the lava caves or singe their post cards by extending them into the furnace-hot fissures.
At Haleakala, the only place in the world where the distinctive silver sword plant grows, taking half a century to mature, so many visitors had gotten into the habit of carrying them off as souvenirs that the species was threatened with extinction.
On August 1, 1916, after more than a decade of lobbying by a coalition of naturalists and scientists, businessmen and boosters, and the enthusiastic support of Stephen Mather, Hawaii National Park was born.
But Congress declined to appropriate any money for it on the belief, one senator explained, "that it should not cost anything to run a volcano."
DUNCAN: I think one of the most memorable moments of my life was walking out onto the lava fields at Hawaii Volcanoes.
And this field off in the distance had these glowing ribbons of light.
And we walked in the darkness over the lava fields and came over this rise.
And there was the coast of Hawaii.
And over it was flowing a waterfall of lava, pouring over the top, and creating steam down in the bottom.
And as the sun came up, we walked farther and farther until we got to that place.
There was heat.
There was this acid smell in the air, sometimes almost overpowering.
But there you were watching new land.
For an Iowan... you know, new land is a great notion.
I felt like I was in Earth's maternity ward.
You know that euphoric rush you get if you walk into a maternity ward and see all those little babies?
Well, here was, you know, a little bit of land being made where that lava met the sea.
And unlike other parts that preserve the place where the monuments of erosion-- of things that had been taken away, where glaciers have pushed through or where water has cut a Grand Canyon...
I was watching new land.
[Birds calling] COYOTE: In 1604, sailing off the coast of what would one day become the state of Maine, the French explorer Champlain had made special note of an island he named Mount Desert-- dominated by looming knobs of bare granite, with tall peaks rising so close to the Atlantic that they catch the nation's first rays of sunlight each morning.
For centuries, it had been the home of the Micmac and the Abenaki-- the people of the dawn.
Then for the 150 years after Champlain, the French claimed it as part of their North American possessions, calling it Acadia, "earthly paradise" before it passed to British and then American hands.
The island was a sparsely populated collection of fishing villages until 1844, when the celebrated landscape artist Thomas Cole arrived in search of new scenery for his palette.
Because of Cole's influence, the island quickly became the favorite summer locale for other painters, all of them drawing inspiration from the rugged shorelines, pristine lakes, and tranquil forests.
Wealthy easterners began showing up, too, to spend the summer far from crowded and polluted cities at the place the nation's top artists had made fashionable.
To accentuate the island's early connection to France, some of the newcomers began calling the island "Mount Dessert."
[Camera shutter clicks] Soon they were buying up land and building their own summer homes-- places with room enough to properly entertain and impress their socially prominent friends.
The proud owners had a special name for their new dwellings.
They called them cottages.
MAN: The future at all our leading seashore places in truth belongs to the cottager, and it is really useless to resist him.
He moves on all the choice sites with calm and remorselessness.
His march along the American coast is nearly as resistless as that of the hordes who overthrew the Roman Empire.
WOMAN: Mount Desert Island was, along with Newport, the social summer institution.
This is where the rich and the famous and the patrician families met, played, partied, had their children marry.
They are exclusive.
They are restrictive.
They do not welcome people who come from immigrant backgrounds, from different backgrounds of white Protestant upper class.
COYOTE: But now one cottager worried that too much of the island was being locked up.
As a boy, Charles Eliot had spent many happy summers vacationing with his family on Mount Desert.
After joining the landscape architecture firm of Frederick Law Olmsted in Boston, Eliot had been inspired by the great public spaces Olmsted had helped create or preserve, including New York's Central Park and Yosemite Valley.
Eliot decided to do the same for Mount Desert, ambitiously drawing up a plan to make more of the island accessible to the public.
But before he could put any of his ideas to work, Eliot contracted meningitis and died suddenly at age 38.
Going through his son's papers to prepare a loving biography, Eliot's grief-stricken father, Charles W. Eliot, came across his namesake's idealistic dreams for Mount Desert.
As president of Harvard University and one of the most prestigious members of the island's summer community, the elder Eliot was in a position to do everything possible to make his son's dream come true.
In the late summer of 1901, he summoned his neighbors and reminded them that many of their favorite places to hike and picnic and enjoy a scenic vista were now off-limits because of new owners.
They established the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations to acquire by gift or purchase from the island's residents land deemed important for its scenic or historic value and then hold on to it and manage it for public use.
MAN: I had seen the wreckage of the great natural landscape by the hotel builder and the private owner.
When President Eliot brought out his plan for the protection and saving of our Mount Desert landscape, it made a strong appeal to me.
COYOTE: George Bucknam Dorr was another cottager on the island.
He was nearly 50 years old in 1901, but had never needed to work for a living, thanks to a generous inheritance from his parents, whose investments in the textile industry had placed them among New England's social elite.
Now he lived alone in his family's grand house in Bar Harbor, where he carried on the family tradition of entertaining prominent guests, and insisted on taking a swim in the frigid waters of the Atlantic every morning.
What Dorr loved best was putting a few crackers in his pockets and taking long rigorous hikes.
Many of the island's trails had, in fact, been blazed by him.
Dorr quickly became the organization's most dedicated worker, slowly buying up important scenic parcels of the land.
Once the trustees had acquired a significant part of the island, they began looking for a way to protect it forever.
MAN AS GEORGE DORR: To the secretary of the interior: Sir, on behalf of the Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, state of Maine, I have the honor to offer in free gift to the United States a unique and noble tract of land upon our Eastern seacoast.
Sincerely yours, George Dorr.
[Car horn honks] COYOTE: But in Washington, Dorr learned that even giving the land away was going to be difficult.
At the time, there were no national parks east of the Mississippi.
And such an idea--to create one from donated land-- had never been proposed.
Horace Albright advised Dorr that Congress could be bypassed if President Woodrow Wilson could be persuaded to use the Antiquities Act and issue an executive order, setting aside 5,000 acres of the island as a national monument.
For 3 years, Dorr kept at it.
And on July 8, 1916, President Wilson finally signed the proclamation.
But George Dorr was still not satisfied.
If a president could unilaterally create a national monument, Dorr feared, he could just as easily take it away.
Although his own inheritance was becoming dangerously depleted, Dorr vowed he wouldn't rest until the national monument became a congressionally authorized, full-fledged, permanent national park.
MAN AS MATHER: The national parks are an American idea, the one thing we have not imported.
It came about because earnest men and women became violently excited at the possibility of these great assets passing from the public control.
COYOTE: Years before Stephen Mather arrived in Washington, supporters had argued that the haphazard collection of national parks needed to be brought together under a single federal agency.
And yet, bill after bill to create one had died in Congress, the victim of quiet but effective lobbying by powerful commercial interests, hoping to exploit park lands, and by John Muir's old nemesis, Gifford Pinchot, and his forest service.
Pinchot believed that conservation meant using, not simply preserving, natural resources, and most certainly did not want a potential rival within the government.
MAN AS MATHER: This nation is richer in natural scenery of the first order than any other nation, but it does not know it.
It possesses an empire of grandeur, which it scarcely has heard of.
It owns the most inspiring playgrounds and the best-equipped nature schools in the world and is serenely ignorant of the fact.
In its national parks it has neglected an economic asset of incalculable value.
[Piano playing on soundtrack] COYOTE: Stephen Mather's promotional crusade for a national park service now shifted into high gear.
Washington had never seen anything quite like it.
All over the country, newspapers and magazines ran glowing feature stories about the parks, the result of Mather's constant cultivation of publishers and writers.
Schoolchildren were encouraged to write essays about the parks for cash prizes.
The General Federation of Women's Clubs and American Civic Association launched letter writing campaigns.
The "National Geographic Magazine" devoted an entire issue to the scenic wonders of America.
And Mather made sure a copy was placed on every congressman's desk.
Then he directed his publicist, Robert Sterling Yard, to produce "The National Parks Portfolio," a hardbound book of several hundred glossy pages filled with photographs of every national park and every national monument in the country.
The book was such a hit, Mather ordered up a smaller paperback version.
2.7 million copies were sold in the first year.
Meanwhile, Mather convened a group that drafted the nuts and bolts language of a bill to create a separate parks bureau within the Interior Department.
Among them was Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., who was asked to add a statement of purpose meant to stand the test of time.
It would also enshrine in words the fundamental contradiction that has always been a part of the story of the national parks.
"The new agency," he wrote, "should manage the parks "for the enjoyment of the American people "and at the same time, keep them unimpaired "for the enjoyment of future generations."
MAN AS ALBRIGHT: We were aware of and discussed the paradox of use and enjoyment of the parks by the people versus their preservation unimpaired.
Of course, we knew there was this paradox.
We had finally come to the belief that with rational, careful, and loving thought, it could be done.
DUNCAN: Well, the statement of purpose is broad, I think deliberately so, and I think magnificently so.
If they had outlined in great detail what was going to be permitted and what wasn't, it would be like if the founders of our nation had said what they meant by all men being created equal and said, "And by the way in case you don't get it, it's all white men of property that are created equal," it wouldn't have been the statement that drew us into the future.
And so with the parks' Organic Act, as it's called, being lofty and broad, it allows us--each generation-- to come to grips with it, just as we do the meaning of liberty.
COYOTE: On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law an act creating the National Park Service to oversee 5 1/2 million acres of some of the most beautiful scenery on Earth.
Stephen Mather, whose relentless energy had finally achieved what so many people had been fighting for for so many years, was named the new agency's first director.
Horace Albright agreed to stay on as his second in command.
MAN AS MATHER: The parks will have a constantly enlarging, revivifying influence on our national life, for which there is no other public agency.
They are our antidote for national restlessness.
They are national character and health builders.
They are giving a new impetus to sane living in this country.
COYOTE: Five months later, Mather convened a 5-day conference in Washington, D.C., a gathering of park supporters from across the country to celebrate the park movement.
But as the conference went on, Albright found himself having to find someone to fill in as presiding officer because his boss was mysteriously absent from the proceedings.
The night after the conference ended, Albright was summoned to the Cosmos Club and ushered into a private room, where he found Mather surrounded by a few of his closest friends.
MAN AS ALBRIGHT: He was rocking back and forth, alternately crying, moaning, and hoarsely trying to get something said.
I couldn't understand a thing.
He was incoherent.
Suddenly, he broke out of my hold, rushed for the door, and, with an anguished cry, proclaimed he couldn't live any longer feeling the way he did.
We all understood what he said that time.
COYOTE: They contacted Mather's wife, who asked them to bring him to a family doctor in Pennsylvania.
She confided that her husband had suffered a similar breakdown in 1903.
Three subsequent episodes had been prevented from spiraling out of control, she added, only by his retreating into the wilderness solitudes of the West-- the trips which had originally inspired his passion for the parks.
After accompanying Mather to the doctor, Albright returned to Washington, where he and interior secretary Lane agreed to keep Mather's true condition secret until more could be learned about his chances of recovery.
In his absence, Albright would serve as acting director.
Mather, meanwhile, was sent to a sanitarium outside Philadelphia.
His condition worsened at first.
Twice, he attempted to kill himself.
But his wife believed he would pull through, as long as he could be convinced he had something to look forward to.
On the wall of his hospital room, she permitted only two decorations.
Both of them were framed pictures of Yosemite National Park.
MAN: When I first saw this tremendous upheaval of mountains, this range before me with McKinley rising in the center, my impressions were exactly the same as those given me by looking down into the Grand Canyon.
One was nature carved down into the surface of the Earth, and the other was the most magnificent upheaval of nature above it.
At such times, man feels his atomic insignificance in this universe.
COYOTE: Among the participants at the National Parks conference was Charles Sheldon, a Vermont native, who had made a fortune in the railroad and mining business, allowing him to retire at age 35 and devote his energies to his personal passion-- the study of wild mountain sheep.
Like his friend Stephen Mather, Sheldon did not do anything halfway.
As an avid hunter and skilled but amateur naturalist, he embarked on field trips to observe North American sheep that took him from the mountains of Mexico, all the way up the Rockies through Canada, to the territory of Alaska and the highest point on the continent--Mount McKinley, 20,320 spectacular feet above sea level.
MAN: And there's something distant and special about that mountain.
Well, it's bigger than hell, and it's colder than hell on top.
They said it was cold as the heart of an elderly whore.
I like it because unlike Everest, which rises out of a very high plateau-- I think the base camp on Everest is something like 16,000 feet high.
And here you see the whole magnificence of this peak rising almost from sea level.
It's very thrilling.
COYOTE: The local Athabaskan Indians reverently called the perpetually icebound and snow-covered mountain Denali, "the high one."
But in 1896 when the region was still marked as unexplored on official maps, a failed businessman turned prospector, who had been arguing politics with his companions, dubbed it Mount McKinley after the presidential candidate he happened to be supporting.
By 1903, the allure of being the first to scale the continent's tallest summit had begun to attract a handful of adventurers.
One of them, Frederick Cook, president of the prestigious Explorers Club, announced that he had made it to the top in a wild dash of 2 weeks, and produced a photo to support his claim.
But a later expedition proved that Cook had been lying-- by replicating his photo at one of the mountain's lower peaks as proof of his deceit.
A few years later, 4 prospectors in a bar near Fairbanks decided they would claim the honor of being the first to conquer McKinley.
Before setting off on their dogsleds, they promised to place an American flag on the summit, where their friends in the bar might see it through telescopes.
MAN: And with their bib overalls and boots and canvas parkas and jug of hot chocolate and a couple of doughnuts, they headed up from their 11,000-foot camp and made it up in one day to the north peak.
Modern climbers just stand in awe of this immense gallop up there, because they went up there with no climbing experience, no route except as they discover it foot by foot, and they got up there and they got back in one day.
Two of them made it to the top.
COYOTE: Many people simply refuse to believe their story.
Besides, it was pointed out, the north peak is actually 850 feet lower than the south peak.
Finally, in 1913, a team led by Hudson Stuck, Alaska's Episcopal archdeacon; Harry Karstens, an experienced local outdoorsman; and Walter Harper-- the half-Indian son of a fur trapper, made it all the way to the top of the south peak.
MAN: There was no pride of conquest, no gloating over good fortune that had hoisted us a few hundred feet higher than others who had struggled and been discomfited.
Rather was the feeling that a privileged communion with the high places of the earth had been granted.
And to cast our eyes down from them, seeing all things as they spread out from the windows of heaven itself.
MAN AS CHARLES SHELDON: I have often wondered in listening to descriptions of emotions evoked by the scenery of our national parks why it was that animals are not more mentioned.
Does not, like the spire in the civilized landscape, a wild animal so adorn it that we feel that it is complete?
That feeling, the completeness of all your feelings aroused by such wild scenery, will be constantly gratified to the uttermost in this proposed park.
COYOTE: For the naturalist Charles Sheldon, what made the region unique was not just the awe-inspiring mountain, but the abundance of wildlife teeming all around it.
Grizzly bears roaming unconcerned about the presence of any other animal, including humans; moose, which Sheldon described as looking more like prehistoric beasts than any animal we have; "caribou," he said, "that surrounded me "like cattle on a cattle ranch"; And the species that had drawn him north in the first place-- the distinctive Dall sheep.
Sheldon made 2 visits to the wilderness around Mount McKinley-- one for an entire year to observe the sheep, study their habits, and collect specimens for the American Museum of Natural History.
Back in New York, Sheldon began promoting the idea of making McKinley a national park among his fellow members of the Boone and Crockett Club, including the founders-- George Bird Grinnell and ex-President Theodore Roosevelt.
Without protection, he told them, the wildlife near Mount McKinley would be slaughtered by market hunters.
DUNCAN: Charles Sheldon, George Bird Grinnell, Theodore Roosevelt-- they are the closest thing that we had in America to aristocracy-- really wealthy people who because of their heredity were freed oftentimes from having to go out and make a living.
That's as close to royalty as we could get.
And while others like them might be using that status, using that wealth to accumulate more for themselves, almost counterintuitively, they were out there looking out for everybody's benefit.
They were patricians but populists.
They were guardians of the greater good, though it wasn't going to necessarily benefit them personally.
BILL BROWN: The movement for the park that Sheldon initiated occurred at a time when a clubby atmosphere worked very well.
It was a small power elite.
These people belonged to the same clubs, had gone to the same schools, had innumerable interties with one another.
I mean, it was a place where about a dozen people counted, and you could round up those dozen people if you were a Charles Sheldon.
MAN AS SHELDON: It has been said that the mountains would remain there.
Why make it a national park now?
The reason for doing it immediately is to save the magnificent herds of game, which are now threatened.
They exist there as a link connecting this life with the life of the past ages, just as the records in the rocks show the records of the past ages there before you.
COYOTE: As they had once done for Yellowstone's wildlife, members of the Boone and Crockett Club swung into action.
With his friend Stephen Mather confined to a sanitarium, Sheldon moved to Washington, prowling the halls of the Capitol to push the bill through.
On February 26, 1917, he personally delivered it to President Wilson for signing.
His only disappointment was that Congress, in creating Mount McKinley National Park, had ignored his repeated pleas to return the mountain and its new park to its original name--Denali.
In the coming decades, the highest peak of North America would continue to attract, challenge, and awe climbers from all over the world, including Bradford and Barbara Washburn from Lexington, Massachusetts.
WOMAN: And a movie company came to Brad and asked if he would lead an expedition to Mount McKinley.
And one of the people from R.K.O.
came to me and said, "Mrs. Washburn, I understand you've climbed the mountain.
"Why don't you come on this trip?"
And I said, "Well, I can't.
I've got 3 little children.
"I certainly can't do that."
And so then they got Brad behind the scenes and said, "If you could persuade your wife "to go on this trip, it would make a better movie "to have a girl in it."
But anyway, I went, and it wasn't that bad.
It was hard work, at least for me, trudging up the mountain.
I had to be concentrating to keep going and not be a problem to anybody and not have to take a rest.
When you're on a rope with other guys, you don't want to take a rest.
BRADFORD WASHBURN: I think one of the most exciting things about having Barbara on the trip was the fact that we were sharing the beauty with each other.
We snuggled in bed together at night there in the mountain.
And I remember a picture I got of her that year at 18,000 feet looking down the backside of McKinley.
McKinley's an old pal, but you have to set foot on that mountain almost with reverence because if it wants to, it can tear you to pieces.
The view from the top is wonderful.
I know the fellow who made the first ascent of McKinley, and he was asked later on what the view from the top of McKinley was, and he hesitated for a moment.
He said, "That's like looking out the windows of heaven."
I've never forgotten that.
When we left the last time, we both cried.
It was like leaving a good friend.
MAN AS ALBRIGHT: Each idea I have must be tested.
Each fork of the trail must be examined.
Maybe it's like constructing a house.
I'm at the stage where I'm laying the foundations.
I have no blueprints and no architect, only the ideal and principles for which the Park Service was created.
I think of myself as an explorer in unknown territory.
COYOTE: With his mentor Stephen Mather still hospitalized, the task of organizing the brand-new National Park Service fell to Horace Albright.
At 27, he was the youngest person in the fledgling organization, 2 years younger than the department's messenger boy.
There was so much to be done-- testifying before Congress, embarking on a 10,000-mile inspection of the western parks, and fending off questions about his boss' whereabouts.
Albright's task became even more challenging in April of 1917.
The United States entered the Great War that had been raging in Europe for almost 3 years.
Western lumber and livestock interests saw the war mobilization as an opportunity to exploit the national parks.
President Wilson was persuaded to reduce the size of Washington's Mount Olympus national monument by one half in order to open up virgin stands of forest for timber cutting.
Ranchers eager to graze their sheep and cattle in the parks encouraged friendly newspapers to editorialize that soldiers need meat to eat, not wildflowers.
There were even proposals that Yellowstone National Park's elk and buffalo herds be slaughtered for canned meat to send to the troops overseas.
Albright did the best he could to protect the parks from it all.
When Interior Secretary Lane ordered him to let 50,000 sheep graze in Yosemite Valley, Albright stopped the plan by threatening to resign.
During the war, Albright accepted an invitation to visit southern Utah, where the Virgin River carves its way through a beautiful canyon of sandstone cliffs.
It had been set aside as a national monument in 1909, named Mukuntuweap, from the Paiute word for "canyon," but had been virtually ignored by the federal government ever since.
Albright was the first official from the Interior Department to actually see it.
MAN AS ALBRIGHT: Local Utah people said that Yosemite was a Mukuntuweap without color.
But this didn't faintly prepare me for the reality of the towering rock walls splashed with brilliant hues of tans and reds interspersed with whites.
It was love at first sight for me.
I was so impressed that I determined we should expand Mukuntuweap and have it made a national park.
COYOTE: Albright's enthusiasm was enough to persuade President Wilson to expand the national monument and to change its name from Mukuntuweap-- which Albright believed was too hard to pronounce, spell, and remember-- to the name the local Mormons used for the canyon: for the pure at heart.
At the end of 1919, Congress set it aside as a national park.
MAN: I was brought into the world on January, 5, 1914, by a midwife in a lumber shack on the family farm.
That's just about where Zion Park headquarters stands today.
But as I grew up, of course, I saw the park develop.
I saw roads built.
I saw the lodges come into being.
I can say that I and the park more or less did grow up together.
Later I became a dishwasher at the Zion Lodge.
Whenever I got the chance, if I get my work done in time, I'd go down and stand outside the recreation hall and listen to the naturalist give his talk.
And I was fascinated, of course, mostly by the fact that, gee, here are these rangers that are dressed nicely.
They got a good job.
I'd like to be one of those.
Well, after World War II, as I came home from Europe, I was hired as a seasonal naturalist.
I loved it.
I used to say, "Golly, I'd work for nothing," except that I had to eat.
I don't have any Indian genes in me that I know of.
I wouldn't go so far as to say that I consider the peaks and the rocks have life and talk to you, but it has something spiritual about it.
I did write a poem-- where I talked to the mountain and it talks back to me, but that's fantasy, of course.
But why not dream a little bit?
MAN AS ALBRIGHT: Mr. Mather's doctor recommended that I be the one and only visitor other than Mrs. Mather for a while.
"His life depends upon national parks," the doctor said.
"I think I can break him back through the parks.
"But without them, I don't know what may happen."
COYOTE: 18 months after his collapse, Stephen Mather returned to his job.
He threw himself into his work as if he had never been away.
MAN AS MATHER: The national parks seem destined to play a role in satisfying the longings of the people in times of great nervous tension through the calming and inspiring influence of nature.
Anyone who has been so fortunate as to witness their marvels and spend quiet hours in the inspiring contemplation of their beauties will surely return home with a burning determination to love and work for, and if necessary fight and die for, the glorious land which is his.
TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS: Our national parks are places of pilgrimage-- a place where we return over and over again to be still, to be contemplative.
And not only do we save these lands or save these national parks.
They save us.
There's something about this wild continuity that gives us courage, that allows us to be the best of who we are as human beings.
COYOTE: Reinvigorated from his time in the parks, Mather became enthusiastic about the scenic attractions of Utah and the southwestern deserts.
He pushed for the creation of Arches national monument, the world's largest collection of exquisite red sandstone architecture sculpted over the eons by wind, rain, and ice.
He also lobbied for what eventually became Great Basin National Park, home of the tough and gnarled bristlecone pines, the oldest living things on earth: some growing for nearly 5,000 years.
And he was instrumental in setting aside a magnificent natural amphitheater carved by erosion from the side of a mountain ridge, filled with eerie rock spires and minarets called hoodoos: Bryce Canyon National Park.
It was named in honor of an early settler, Ebenezer Bryce, who had long since left the area after reportedly saying, "It's a hell of a place to lose a cow."
But now Mather set his sights on a even bigger canyon, whose absence from his list of national parks bothered him more than anything.
MAN AS J.B. PRIESTLEY: There is, of course, no sense at all in trying to describe the Grand Canyon.
Those who have not seen it will not believe any possible description.
Those who have seen it know that it cannot be described.
It is not a showplace, a beauty spot, but a revelation.
The Colorado River made it, but you feel when you are there that God gave the Colorado River its instructions.
The thing is Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in stone and magic light.
I hear rumors of visitors who were disappointed-- the same people who will be disappointed at the Day of Judgment.
COYOTE: It is the grandest canyon on earth-- 277 miles long, 10 miles wide, a mile deep, and getting a foot deeper every thousand years as the Colorado River patiently cuts its way through layer upon layer of time.
"A grand geological library," John Muir called it.
"A collection of stone books, tier on tier, "conveniently arranged for the student."
From limestone and sandstone and shale, all the way down to some of the oldest exposed rock on earth, Precambrian Vishnu schist formed 1.7 billion years ago.
The home over thousands of years of the ancient Puebloans and the Hopi, the Walapai, and the Havasupai, the Paiute and the Navajo.
It entered recorded history in 1540, when Spanish conquistadors under the command of Coronado peered into its depths and were awed and staggered by its immensity, just as every visitor who followed them would be.
In 1869, a one-armed Civil War veteran and geology professor named John Wesley Powell, hoping to fill in the biggest remaining gap of unknown territory in the maps of the United States, set off down the Colorado.
It was a costly, deadly trip.
He began with 9 men in 4 wooden boats and emerged with 5 men and 2 boats.
But Powell's expedition was a huge success and brought the Grand Canyon to national attention.
Proposals to make it a national park dated But they all had failed in Congress because of fierce opposition from local ranchers, miners, and settlers who did not want the federal government imposing Then Presidentn what Theodore Roosevelt had stretched the limits of the newly passed Antiquities Act, and with the stroke of his pen established the Grand Canyon National Monument.
"The Canyon," Roosevelt said, "represented the most impressive piece of scenery I "have ever looked at, "the one great site which every American should see.
"Leave it as it is," he had advised the people of Arizona.
No one had listened to him.
A few rustic hotels were already perched on the Canyon's precipice when the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway extended its tracks to the South Rim and began construction of even more buildings.
Yearly visitation rose into the tens of thousands.
Among them was an itinerant piano player and aspiring composer from Los Angeles named Ferde Grofe, who was so overwhelmed by the experience that years later the memory of it would inspire his masterpiece, the "Grand Canyon Suite."
[Music playing on soundtrack] Equally impressed was a humorist from Paducah, Kentucky, named Irvin S. Cobb.
MAN AS IRVIN S. COBB: I think my preconceived conception of the Canyon was the same conception most people have before they come out to see it for themselves-- a straight up-and-down slit in the earth.
It is no such thing.
Imagine the very heart of the world laid bare before our eyes.
There's nothing between you and the undertaker except 6,000 feet, more or less, of dazzling Arizona climate.
Having seen the Canyon from the top, the next thing to do is to go down into it.
Down a winding footpath moves the procession, all as nervous as cats and some holding to their saddle pommels with death grips.
All at once, you notice that the person immediately ahead of you has apparently ridden right over the wall of the Canyon.
It is at this point that some tourists tender their resignations to take effect immediately.
You reflect that thousands of persons have already done this thing, that thousands of others are going to do it, and that no serious accident has yet occurred, which is some comfort but not much.
The natives will tell you the tale of a man who made the trip by crawling around the more sensational corners upon his hands and knees.
Presently, when you've begun to piece together the tattered fringes of your nerves, you realize that this canyon is even more wonderful when viewed from within than it is when viewed from without.
Also, you begin to notice now that it is most extensively autographed.
Apparently, about every other person who came this way remarked to himself, This canyon was practically completed and only needed his signature as collaborator to round it out.
COYOTE: Of all the entrepreneurs who descended upon the Grand Canyon in the early 20th Century hoping to earn a living off its scenery, none worked harder than 2 brothers from Pennsylvania-- Ellsworth and Emery Kolb.
In 1902, they had opened a photographic studio on the South Rim, at first in a canvas tent near one of the hotels, and then in a wooden structure they built at the head of Bright Angel Trail, the principal route from the rim to the river far below.
Every morning, as the mule-backed caravans began their descent, Emery Kolb would take their photograph at a prearranged spot near the trail head with his 5-by-7 view camera and enter information about them in his logbook.
Then he would take off down the trail himself, carrying his glass plate negatives as he ran to a makeshift darkroom he and his brother had constructed near a small spring halfway between the rim and the river.
Kolb would develop his pictures, then scurry back up the trail in time to offer the photos for sale when the mule trains returned from the bottom.
Each trip to the darkroom was 4 1/2 miles and 3,000 vertical feet down, 4 1/2 miles and 3,000 vertical feet back up.
MAN AS COBB: Just under the first terrace, a halt was made while the official photographer took a picture.
And when you get back, he has your finished copy ready for you so you can see for yourself just how pale and haggard and walleyed and like a typhoid patient you looked.
COYOTE: During slow seasons, the Kolb brothers set off to explore parts of the Canyon tourists never experienced, always lugging their bulky camera equipment and often taking great risks to find the perfect vantage point.
They brought back some of the most stunning photographs of the Grand Canyon the world had ever seen, offered them for sale, and had trouble keeping up with the demand for copies.
And when that wasn't enough, in 1911, they decided to retrace John Wesley Powell's historic boat trip down the Colorado and record it not only with still photographs, but with a motion-picture camera.
The trip took 3 rough, exhilarating months and included a number of close calls on the turbulent river, including one in which Emery insisted on filming his brother's precarious situation before tossing him a life preserver.
They emerged with the world's first moving pictures of the raging Colorado and the majestic canyon it had carved, took their finished product on a lecture tour to packed theaters all around the East Coast, and then built an addition to their studio on the Canyon's rim to house a small auditorium, where every day Emery Kolb would personally narrate the film for tourists, who had come thousands of miles to see the Grand Canyon but preferred that at least part of their experience be confined to a movie screen.
MAN AS COBB: Nearly everybody on taking a look at the Grand Canyon comes right out and admits its wonders are absolutely indescribable, and then proceeds to write anywhere from 2,000 to 50,000 words giving the full details.
In the presence of the Grand Canyon, language just simply fails you, and all the parts of speech go dead lame.
When the Creator made it, He failed to make a word to cover it.
Irvin S. Cobb.
MAN AS MATHER: In many of the foreign estimates of the great natural spectacles of America, the Grand Canyon stands at the top.
Its absence from the list of our national parks, therefore, seems to belittle, in foreign eyes, our entire national park system.
What can the system amount to, they ask, if it doesn't even include the Grand Canyon?
MAN AS ALBRIGHT: Mather desperately wanted the Grand Canyon made into a national park.
I felt it would be a tremendous boost to his health and well-being, so I put in an enormous amount of time and energy in the project.
COYOTE: In their quest to add the Canyon to the system of parks they were building, Stephen Mather and Horace Albright found themselves blocked at every turn by a man who considered the Canyon his own private domain, and was unafraid to take on the federal government, the Santa Fe Railroad, or anyone else who got in his way.
MAN: I was exploring the Grand Canyon before other men ever knew there was a Grand Canyon.
I went there to seek a fortune, which all prospectors expect to make.
And I've always said that I would make more money out of the Grand Canyon than any other man.
Ralph Henry Cameron.
whose opinion of himself was as grand as the canyon he planned to exploit.
A few of Cameron's mines actually yielded some valuable ore, but the vast majority of his claims seemed conveniently located on the most scenic spots along the South Rim, and he never seemed to do much mining on them.
At one claim near the head of the Bright Angel Trail, which he preferred to call the Cameron Trail, he built a cabin, named it Cameron's Hotel, and dispatched employees to hound tourists getting off the train to patronize it.
On the trail itself, he erected a gate at the rim, where his brother would collect a toll of a dollar a person for its use.
When Coconino County was declared the trail's proper owner, Cameron used his influence as a county commissioner to be awarded the franchise to continue collecting the tolls.
Halfway down the trail at a small oasis called Indian Gardens, he operated a ramshackle tent camp, where he charged passing travelers outrageous prices for water, then charged again for the only outhouses between the rim and the river.
Meanwhile, as Stephen Mather steadily built support in Congress for his park proposal, federal officials ruled virtually all of Cameron's claims invalid because of their lack of mineral value.
The Secretary of the Interior ordered him to abandon them.
Cameron ignored it all, and instead filed 55 new claims, bringing his total to 13,000 strategically placed acres.
In a lawsuit working its way toward the Supreme Court, his lawyers were even arguing that Theodore Roosevelt's executive order creating the national monument had been illegal.
In 1919, Congress at last passed a bill creating Grand Canyon National Park.
A year later when the Supreme Court finally and unequivocally ruled against Cameron, Mather and Albright figured that their troubles with him were over at last.
They couldn't have been more wrong.
In the election of 1920, Arizona sent him to Washington as a United States senator.
"I feel like getting even," Cameron had written a friend.
"And if I live, "I certainly will."
MAN AS JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER JR.: I never had any doubt about the existence of a divine being.
To see a tree coming out in the spring was enough to impress me with the fact that God existed.
John D. Rockefeller Jr. COYOTE: John D. Rockefeller Jr. was the only son of the richest and, some said, most hated man in America-- John D. Rockefeller Sr., the founder of the vast Standard Oil trust-- which at the time refined more than 90% of the oil sold in America.
John D. Jr. had been raised in accordance with his father's strict Baptist creed-- to work hard, to watch every penny, and remember to give to charity.
In 1908, he had come to Mount Desert Island with his wife Abby, a New Englander who instilled in him an abiding love of the Maine coast.
Two years later, he purchased an estate near Seal Harbor on the quiet side of the island, where his growing family could spend their summers in relative privacy and enjoy what he called one of the greatest views in the world.
That same year at age 36, Rockefeller had made a momentous decision.
He would step away from the pursuit of even greater wealth and the management of his father's extensive business interests, and devote himself instead to a single goal-- the social purposes, he said, to which a great fortune could be dedicated.
Then he was introduced to George Dorr, who was still seeking funds to acquire even more land on Mount Desert Island and still hoping to turn the new national monument into a national park.
MAN AS ROCKEFELLER JR: George Dorr is an impulsive, enthusiastic, eager person who works at high tension, neglects his meals, sits up too late at night, and rushes about from one pressing thing to another.
But he is very diligent, as well as highly inventive.
COYOTE: Rockefeller soon became Dorr's principal patron.
As he quietly began buying up land, Rockefeller also launched the most ambitious network of wilderness carriage roads New England had ever seen, not only paying for it all, but overseeing every detail.
Meant for the aesthetic enjoyment of people riding in open carriages, on horseback, or on a bicycle, the paths were painstakingly located to present a series of scenic vistas displaying Mount Desert at its best.
Each bridge, made of local granite so it would blend into its setting, was individually designed, including one that was given a graceful curve to save 2 trees from being destroyed and oriented so that a nearby waterfall was in the same line of the sight as the bridge's arch.
By the time he was through, Rockefeller had built 57 miles of carriage roads weaving through the island, donated 10,000 additional acres, and spent $3.5 million for the dream that had begun as young Charles Eliot's fanciful notion, his father's noble tribute, and George Dorr's magnificent obsession.
Stephen Mather was enthusiastic about the plans.
Having a national park in the East closer to the nation's major population centers would help build support for the larger system he was trying to create.
It would also be a different kind of park-- smaller, more intimate, and set aside not from federal land, but as a gift from some of the country's wealthiest citizens.
On February 26, 1919, the same day the Grand Canyon was brought into the system, 15,000 acres of Mount Desert Island-- triple the original gift-- also became a national park, eventually named Acadia, the French word for "heaven on earth."
MAN AS DORR: The present generation will pass as my own has done.
But the mountains and the woods, the coasts and streams that have now passed through the agency of the park to the national government will continue as a national possession, a public possession henceforth for all time to come.
It never will be given up to private ownership again.
Then men in control will change, the government itself will change, but its possession by the people will remain.
COYOTE: George Dorr was now 65.
Despite his age, he was immediately named superintendent.
He would remain in that job for the next 25 years.
He would continue badgering more of his summertime neighbors to donate their property, and would so thoroughly sacrifice what remained of his inheritance to the cause that when he died in 1944, his estate had money for his funeral only because its trustees had secretly put $2,000 aside to prevent Dorr from giving it all away.
Circling over a part of the island he had especially loved, friends scattered his ashes from a plane.
Two wealthy matrons enjoying lunch on the terrace of their summer cottage looked up as some of the plane's wafting cargo drifted down into their teacups.
"Oh, dear," one of them exclaimed.
DUNCAN: One of my favorite Robert Frost poems is "West-Running Brook," where he describes this beautiful stream coming down.
And the narrator is pointing out this one spot in the brook where the water hits a rock and is thrown backward, and the beauty of that spot where it sparkles in the light.
And he says it's from that that we spring.
It's going back toward the source, toward, as he said, "the beginning of the beginnings."
And I think national parks are a part of that-- that sparkle in the water.
Life pushes us forward.
Our society moves forward in a great rush, but the parks are that place that throws us back a little bit.
That makes us pause, makes us reflect, and points us back to the source, to the beginning of beginnings.
And that's their value, and that's their beauty.
COYOTE: National parks could now be found in the territories of Hawaii and Alaska, from the coast of Maine to the canyons of Utah and Arizona.
And there was a new agency trying to figure out how to care for them all.
Stephen Mather could easily claim victory for setting it in motion and step down.
But he was feeling strong again and bursting with more ideas, ideas that would bring even more Americans to their parks.
MAN AS MATHER: What is it that inspires love of the flag, that tunes the ear of America to sing "My Country 'tis of Thee"?
Is it industrial efficiency, irrigation statistics, or trade output?
Is it the hideous ore dumps of the sordid mining camp?
Is it the grim powerhouse in which is harnessed Niagara?
Is it the blackened waste that follows the devastation of much of our forest wealth?
Is it the smoking factory of the grimy mill town, the malodorous wharves along navigable rivers?
Is it even the lofty metropolitan skyscraper that shuts out the sun and throws its dismal shadow over all below?
Our devotion to the flag is inspired by love of country.
Patriotism is the religion of the soil, and national parks are our richest patrimony.
ANNOUNCER: Next time on "The National Parks," as American embraces the automobile, a Nebraska housewife seeks peace in the parks... WOMAN: At last, I have found the spirit of the woods.
ANNOUNCER: a honeymoon couple searches for adventure in the Grand Canyon, and the fate of the Great Smokies becomes a race with the lumberman'’s saw... MAN: It was wrecked, ruined.
Did anyone ever thank God for a lumberman'’s slashing?
ANNOUNCER: as "The National Parks" continues.
DIFFERENT ANNOUNCER: To further explore "The National Parks: America'’s Best Idea," visit PBS on-line at... "The National Parks: America'’s Best Idea," a film by Ken Burns, is available on DVD and Blu-ray.
A companion book and CD are also available.
To order, visit shopPBS.org or call 1-800-PLAY-PBS.
Captioning made possible by Friends of NCI Captioning made possible by Friends of NCI Bank of America is proud to be exclusive corporate underwriter for the films of Ken Burns and hopes you enjoyed this encore presentation.
Announcer: Our national parks belong to all of us.
They are places of discovery, they are places of inspiration, they are America's best idea.
Major funding provided by: the Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr. Fund.
Additional funding was provided by the Park Foundation in support of a clean and healthy environment; The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations-- dedicated to strengthening America's future through education; the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks; the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation; the Pew Charitable Trusts; by General Motors; by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and by generous contributions to this PBS station from viewers like you.