America’s Best Idea

October 13, 2009

America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful

Ken Burns, especially known for his Civil War documentaries, has a new program on PBS rotation.  I, like many Americans have fond memories of several of our national parks.  We are relatively light on national parks in Kansas, but have several within a good day’s drive.  What national parks have you visited?  What are your favorites?  What problems do you forsee our park needing to overcome as we move through the 21st century?

4 Responses to “America’s Best Idea”

  1. I have Burns’ show on DVR so I need to watch it.
    I’ve been to National Monuments, but I don’t think I’ve been to any national parks. Pretty sad.
    Pressure from nearby development, smog, adjacent landowner issues (Yellowstone bison and wolves)… I think there are a fine variety of problems facing our parks but I am so happy they’re protected. And I have no problem with more being added.
    I don’t know if the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is considered a national park, but I was there the weekend after it was announced that it would join the park system. I was attending a Kansas Audubon Council meeting there in my environmentalist days and we were outside the barn talking and a couple pulls up from Colorado wanting to see the bison and the prairie. We had to explain to them there was nothing developed yet and only cattle present. Kinda funny. Not for them though. They drove all the way to Cottonwood Falls for an experience they would not have.

  2. I’d love to see some sort of cultural preserves created. Not just ethnic stuff. I don’t know how day to day life would be preserved, but as I go back to visit Minnesota to visit family on occasion, I’ve noticed the “cabin culture” changing up there.
    There used to be a very specific way of life associated with going “up north” to cabins on the lake. Cabins were smaller, furnished with secondhand goods, docks were rustic, properties were mostly naturalized, residency was seasonal. Now, they’re just homes on the lake for the most part with all new everything, full landscaping and all the bells and whistles. Pretty sad actually. I’m sure there are similar losses of rural culture in some of these small Kansas towns.

  3. thefryeguy Says:

    It sounds like you need to take a couple weeks for a family trip through the Rockies.

    I know the Tallgrass Prairie Naional Preserve is administered by the Parks’ Department, but I am pretty sure it is not considered a National Park. That’s good anecdote about the Coloradons. At least it’s a neat place to visit, buffalo or no.

    Cultural preserves…interesting idea. Kind of like in M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘The Village’? How would you convince people to live there? I haven’t been to northern Minnesota, but can almost visualize what you are talking about. I can hear the loon calls and see the hand-carved Mallard decoys, but not from a $30,000 deck or beside a $5,000 plasma tv.

  4. backroadsnewsroom Says:

    I was jealous of the folks living in The Village.
    It would likely be impossible because people would still have to be part of modern society to earn a living. Making it a living history farm type of community would likely make it more of a reenactment than a true culture. But if the folks earn their living outside their cultural community, they’d be tainted by that too.
    Of course the old order Amish have proven that people can choose to maintain a certain culture without modern society affecting it.
    I think it would be very difficult to do with any other culture though. But maybe that makes my job of documenting culture in all of its detail that much more important.

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