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.
WOMAN: The best thing to do at the Grand Canyon is to float the river.
Because then you have time to idle back your soul to that great vastness and that great timelessness.
The first time I floated the river, I almost was puzzled and didn't like the fact that I was so awestruck.
Because I've seen a lot of other wonderful places.
You know, been to Glacier Bay, have been in Yosemite, have lived at Mount Rainier.
So why should the Grand Canyon be grabbing me so hard?
But it does.
It's an amazing place when you can really experience it.
Not look at it, but experience it.
Be part of it.
Hear the constancy of the river's flow.
Maybe that constancy is a part of it, that there's something bigger than yourself.
Well, you know that, but you don't feel it until you get into the Grand Canyon.
To go inside, you go outside because you need to know yourself in context.
Not the big "I" that you usually feel you are as you go trotting through your daily life, But to find that added dimension of yourself, that innermost essential you that is there.
[TRAIN HORN SOUNDS] PETER COYOTE: In late 1915, on the train ride back from San Francisco to their home in Lincoln, Nebraska, Margaret and Edward Gehrke decided to take the one-day side excursion to the Grand Canyon offered by the Aitchison, Topeka, and Sante Fe Railway.
Margaret had never seen anything like it before in her life.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: A few things in this beautiful old world are too big to talk about.
One can only weep before so supreme a spectacle of glory and of majesty.
COYOTE: Margaret was 32, a lover of books and poetry who had read and admired John Muir.
She taught school until shortly after she married Edward, a plumber who had gone into the house-building business.
Edward's passion was dogs and fishing and photographing everything he saw.
Margaret's was dreaming about the yearly excursions the childless couple began taking once Edward's business started to flourish.
Over the course of nearly 30 years, Margaret would record the start of every trip as the "day of days" in her journal.
Edward would bring along his Kodak camera, snapping pictures Margaret would later carefully place in photo albums to commemorate their adventures.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: Let those who will buy land and horde money.
We will have our memories, glad memories of golden experiences together.
[Train horn sounds] COYOTE: In 1917, the Gehrkes took the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy line to Yellowstone, the nation's oldest park.
Two years later, the Great Northern took them to Glacier National Park.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: We have seen much in a short time.
But still I have not found the peace I seek.
I have found 5 hotels filled with crowds.
I've seen beautiful scenery, but not the deep silence of the hills.
COYOTE: Then a boat ferried them to a quiet spot on the far shore of Lake McDonald.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: We have a wonderful location, camped in a forest of tall pines overlooking the lake.
At last I have found the spirit of the woods.
I shall like it here very much.
COYOTE: They lingered there for 11 days.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: August 21.
Our last day here.
It has been all we dreamed it would be.
For in this trip like all the others, we have laid up for ourselves treasures, and we have remembered to live.
August 24, Lincoln, Nebraska.
To come home on Edward's birthday was nice, if returning home can ever be said to be pleasant.
August 27, the housekeeping wheel begins.
I swept and dusted, thoroughly cleaned the front rooms.
COYOTE: Margaret was already dreaming of more national parks beckoning her and Edward.
And although the railroads had introduced them to the parks, in the future, the Gehrkes would travel a different way.
Outside their house in Lincoln sat a new Buick, 1 of 17 Edward would own in the next 20 years.
MAN: At the heart of the park idea is this notion that by virtue of being an American, whether you're ancestors came over on the "Mayflower" or whether they just arrived, whether you're from a big city or from a rural setting, whether your daddy owns the factory or your mother is a maid, you--you--are the owner of some of the best seafront property this nation's got.
You own magnificent waterfalls.
You own stunning views of mountains and stunning views of gorgeous canyons.
They belong to you.
And all that's asked of you is to put it in your will... for your children so that they can have it, too.
Hopefully you won't let it be sold off, you won't let it be despoiled.
Hopefully you'll provide for proper maintenance of this property that is yours.
But that's all you've got to do.
Now...that's quite a bargain.
MAN: The national parks themselves are old as we count age in America.
But until Stephen T. Mather conceived them all combined as a system, they had existed unnoticed.
Suddenly our national parks became... our most wonderful possession, this shining badge of the nation's glory, sharing somewhat even of the sacredness of the flag.
Robert Sterling Yard.
COYOTE: In 1916, when Stephen Mather helped to create the National Parks Service, the park idea was already 50 years old in America.
The parks themselves, however, still existed as a haphazard collection of scenic places, occasionally guarded by the army, often ignored by Congress and in many ways controlled by the railroads that had invested far more than the federal government in advertising the parks and providing amenities for the tourists who could afford to go.
Mather was determined to change all that.
He wanted more national parks.
He wanted them within reach of everyone, and he wanted them promoted to the American people as 1 cohesive system.
But with no clear precedence to guide them, he and his young assistant, Horace Albright, would instead have to rely on their own judgment to determine the future of the parks.
As the nation entered the 1920s, when a growing prosperity permitted more and more people to escape the crowded cities of the East, Mather and Albright's efforts would bring Americans to their parks as never before.
To do it, they would ally themselves with the machine that was already rapidly transforming American life.
But almost from the start, some park supporters worried that they had made a pact with the devil.
MAN: I heard the other day that a question's been raised as to whether automobiles should be admitted in the Yosemite Valley.
May a word be permitted on that subject?
If Adam had known what harm the serpent was going to work, he would have tried to prevent him from finding lodgment in Eden.
And if you stop to realize what the result of the automobile will be on that wonderful, that incomparable valley, you will keep it out.
Do not let the serpent enter Eden at all.
Lord James Bryce.
MAN: The first idea of national parks seems to have been that they were stupendous natural spectacles.
Then came the great out-of-doors movement.
And people turned to the national parks as places to live during their vacations.
Lastly comes the realization that our parks are not only showplaces and vacation lands, but also vast schoolrooms of Americanism, where people are studying, enjoying, and learning to love more deeply this land in which they live.
COYOTE: For Stephen Mather, being the first director of the National Parks Service was more than a civil service job.
It was a calling to a noble cause, something so compelling it had drawn him away from private industry where his business skills and genius for promotion had made him a millionaire several times over.
He could be a whirlwind of action, and his intense energy and friendliness had earned him the nickname the eternal freshman.
But Mather was also prone to crippling spells of depression, mental collapses that required hospitalization.
He always found the solace and rejuvenation he needed so badly in the parks.
No Mather wanted all Americans to experience that healing power.
But he realized that until more people started showing up, Congress would never create more parks or even support the existing ones.
MAN: He was at heart a public relations man and wanted the country to be aware of the national parks.
There never could be too many tourists for Stephen Mather.
He wanted as many as possible to enjoy these treasures, no matter how they got to the parks.
COYOTE: Mather and Horace Albright were willing to try almost anything to lure visitors.
They approved golf courses, zoos, even a summer race track at different parks and proposed Yosemite as an ideal setting to host the winter Olympics.
In Yellowstone, Albright arranged for a buffalo plains week in which cowboys and Crow Indians stampeded the park's bison herd for tourists arriving by buckboard.
He also allowed a movie crew to film the stampede for a Hollywood western called "The Thundering Herd."
Albright even considered stringing a cable car across the Grand Canyon, but the idea was ultimately rejected because Mather realized it would ruin the view.
MAN AS STEPHEN MATHER: This is a new agency.
MAN: Mather and Albright are building something that has not existed before.
So they're trying to do the right things and trying to understand what the American people are going to want from their parks in the future.
And they're struggling with all kinds of advice.
They're getting advice from biologists not to eradicate the predators and they're getting advice from the locals that there should be more commercial pursuits.
For Mather, recreation was the absolute center of what the parks were supposed to be and recreation and entertainment.
And so he very much is into the parks as spectacle.
COYOTE: But of all the judgments Mather made in the early years, none would have a greater impact on the number of people visiting national parks than his decision to embrace the automobile.
Mather's hero, John Muir, had harbored mixed feelings about the horseless carriage.
"Blunt-nosed mechanicalbeetlesbeatles," he called them, "that might mingle their gas breath "with the fresh air of pines and waterfalls."
Though Muir also admitted they might help create new allies for the parks if they were allowed in under certain restrictions.
Stephen Mather had no such qualms.
By 1918, tourists arriving in Yosemite by automobile outnumbered those coming by train 7-1, and by the end of 1920, Mather proudly announced that for the first time in history, the number of people visiting the parks exceeded one million a year.
"The automobile," Mather said, "has been the open sesame."
MAN: The advent of the automobile was the great democratizing factor.
Suddenly anyone who owned a car could come to the park, could make the drive, could go around the park and see it with no guide, with no tie to the hotels, with no tie to the stagecoach operation that was entrenched.
You could just camp out along the way, you know, at your own expense.
MAN: The automobile is the devil's bargain because as more people pour into the national parks in automobiles, they need a place to park, and they start by parking anywhere they can.
They start by parking in the meadows.
They start by parking along the roads.
They begin to become a menace of the whole idea of a pristine natural environment that you view from a community setting, such as a stagecoach or a motorbus.
COYOTE: Mather joined forces with automobile clubs, chambers of commerce, good roads associations, local governments, and car manufacturers to lobby for a national park-to-park highway, a 6,000-mile loop of improved roads linking all the western parks.
"It would be," he predicted in 1921, "the greatest scenic highway in the world," one that would unleash what he called "the great flow of tourist gold "into every community along its route."
In 1925, Mather told his park superintendents he wanted them all to gather at Mesa Verde.
To get there, however, they were explicitly instructed not to take the train.
They were to form car caravans and travel together on the park-to-park highway and make as much news about it as possible along the way.
It was a classic Mather publicity stunt, and it was a huge success.
That year, visitation at national parks topped 2 million for the first time.
MAN AS STEPHEN MATHER: In the national parks there is one thing that the motorists are doing, and that is making them a great melting pot for the American people.
This will go far in developing a love and pride in our own country and a realization of what a wonderful place it is.
There is no way to bring it home to them in a better way than by going from park to park through the medium of an automobile and camping out in the open.
It is just by trips of that kind that people learn what America is.
MAN: It was great that we created national parks, but we created rangers to personify national parks.
It's...it's Yosemite talking to you.
It was Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir and George Bird Grinnell all those guys rolled into one.
And standing there in front of you, giving you a talk by a campfire.
The romance and magic of that, and as near as I can tell, it's never faded.
COYOTE: In the past, political patronage had determined who got jobs in the parks.
A well-connected employee at Glacier National Park was so inept his patrols were restricted to following the railroad tracks to keep him from getting lost.
The son-in-law of an early Mesa Verde superintendent turned out to be responsible for the looting of precious artifacts from the ancient cliff dwellings.
To institute changes, Stephen Mather quickly began hand-picking new superintendents.
Jesse Nussbaum, a professional archaeologist, was put in charge of Mesa Verde and its treasures.
John White was an English-born adventurer who had scoured the Klondike for gold and fought in 3 wars, but he had gladly taken a low-paying job just to be at the Grand Canyon, until Mather and Albright recognized his leadership skills could be put to better use as superintendent of Sequoia National Park, where White would serve for more than a quarter of a century.
The most prestigious post, superintendent of Yellowstone, was entrusted to Horace Albright.
"I felt so desperately young," he later remembered, "I just prayed to be 30 years old."
To appear more mature, he took to wearing eyeglasses in public.
MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT: If you cannot work hard 10 or 12 hours a day and always with patience and a smile on your face, don't fill out the attached blank.
Apply if you are qualified.
Otherwise, please plan to visit the Yellowstone National Park as a tourist.
COYOTE: Underneath the superintendents, Mather wanted a cadre of equally professional park rangers.
"Men between the ages of 21 and 40," Albright said, "of good character, sound physique, "and tactful in handling people."
They needed to be able to ride and take care of horses, build trails, fight forest fires, handle a rifle and pistol, have practical experience in surviving every extreme of weather in the out of doors, and be willing to work long hours with no provisions for overtime pay.
The salary was $1,000 a year.
From that, rangers were expected to buy their own food, and pay $45 for the symbol of the job they had chosen:> a specially designed uniform topped by a distinctive flat-brimmed hat.
MAN: And that marvelous flat hat, that cavalry hat, is just like a magnet to millions of visitors every year.
There's something special about the park ranger uniform and that hat.
Steve Mather and Horace Albright saw in the park ranger an opportunity to sell the whole idea of national parks.
MAN AS STEPHEN MATHER: If a trail is to be blazed, it is, "send the ranger."
If an animal is floundering in the snow, a ranger is sent to pull him out.
If a bear is in the hotel, if a fire threatens a forest, if someone is to be saved, it is "send a ranger."
If a dude wants to know the why of nature's ways, if a sage-brusher is puzzled about a road, his first thought, "ask a ranger."
COYOTE: And the man every ranger looked up to was Stephen Mather.
He once gave a ranger travel money to make a cross-country trip to visit his parents.
Occasionally treated rangers and their wives to meals at fancy restaurants, and in Yosemite, spent $25,000 from his own pocket to build the ranger's clubhouse, a place where they could relax in private.
Mather himself took to staying there instead of in one of Yosemite's hotels whenever he visited the park.
Impressed by an educational nature program run by 2 college professors at a private resort at Lake Tahoe, Mather paid to have the whole thing transferred to Yosemite.
Soon guided nature walks and evening campfire lectures by what he called ranger naturalists were being inaugurated in every national park, where they quickly became one of the park service's most popular programs and did more than anything else to burnish the image of friendly professionalism Mather was trying to create.
MAN: They are the people who have the answers to the questions that the parks pose when you come into a park.
Who were these people that built these roads?
How did this great chasm get created?
What kind of bird and what kind of flower is that?
It prompts all these questions in you that you want answer to.
The ranger is the one that you go to for the answers.
You know, I think I got a pretty good education, but I don't know if I'm proud or sorry to say that most of the science that I know I learned at a national park as an adult, and a good deal of my history, too.
I learned from a ranger telling me, explaining to me as I was just cascading questions toward them.
COYOTE: Most of the rangers were men, but a few were women.
At age 18, Clara Marie Hodges, who knew Yosemite's trails as well as anyone, became the Park Service's first woman ranger.
At Yellowstone, Isabel Bassett Wasson a Brooklyn native with a Master's degree in geology from Columbia University, gave lectures at 3 different locations each day, each one on a different topic, because crowds followed her wherever she went.
WOMAN: Park rangers have collections of silly questions because we so enjoy them.
What time do the moose come out for pictures at Isle Royale?
Wind Cave has one of my favorites.
The rangers there occasionally get asked what the cave weighs.
DUNCAN: How much of this cave is underground?
How many miles of this cavern haven't been discovered yet?
Why did the Indians build their ruins so close to the road?
MAN: And you could be a naturalist... if you knew the answer to 3 questions: Where's the restroom?
How far is Las Vegas?
And what's the fastest way out of here?
That was the 3 questions.
[Birds chirping] [Woodpecker pecking] MAN: Whenever someone enters a national park, it's like going to another world.
And I think that people feel that transition, the feel that sense that they've gone to someplace better than what they've left behind, but the irony is that where they've gone is the place where they've always been.
It's just now they understand it, now they see it, now they feel it because parks are like going home.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: July 15.
This is Colorado.
Ahead, the snow-covered peaks and cool pines and a long trail into the unknown.
About 20 miles out of Fort Morgan we made camp, where mosquitoes made supper and sleep an interesting undertaking.
COYOTE: In July of 1921, Margaret and Edward Gehrke set off on their most adventurous trip ever: a 3-month journey covering more than 7,000 miles, adding more national parks to their growing list.
The Gehrkes were traveling in their new Buick, auto camping across the West, picking each day's itinerarythemselves and stopping for the night wherever the mood hit them.
Schoolyards, municipal parks, or simply on the side of the road.
To keep them company, they brought along their pet dog, an Airedale named Barney.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: 75 miles this day over splendidly graveled roads.
The freedom, the joy, the ecstasy one feels when he is going into the mountains that lie ahead.
The steady purr of the speeding car that bears one on past unfamiliar fields.
COYOTE: At Rocky Mountain National Park, they drove over the continental divide on the Fall River Road, which the Park Service had completed only a year earlier.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: July 19.
We shall long remember going over this new path from Estes to Grand Lake.
A ride of 40 miles of indescribable scenery and some stretches of inconceivable roads.
COYOTE: From Rocky Mountain they pushed westward, across Utah and Nevada to Northern California, where they learned that the visit Margaret had planned to Lassen Volcanic National Park would now be impossible because the mountain roads were in such bad shape.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: It would be sensible not to go.
But to be sensible is to be commonplace.
To be commonplace is unpardonable.
[Thunder] I shall regret his decision.
[Bird chirping] COYOTE: They had better luck in Oregon at Crater Lake National Park.
They circled it on the newly completed 35-mile Rim Road, "one of the great scenic highways of the West," Margaret noted in her journal.
And motored on to Astoria, Oregon, reaching the Pacific Ocean near the same spot where the Lewis and Clark expedition had spent the winter of 1805-1806, after becoming the first American citizens to cross the continent.
Five days later, the Gehrkes reached yet another national park.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: In camping tonight here at the foot of Mt.
Rainier, its great summit covered with immaculate snow, its outline in sharp contrast against the sky, the clear bright stars above, the icy chill of thin air, a secret dream of my heart has been realized.
And here I give thanks.
COYOTE: The Gehrkes' trip had only whetted their appetite for more trips over the coming years, and Edward's revolving parade of new Buicks always with new parks as their destination.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: September 25, 1922.
Desert Island off the coast of Maine.
We have arrived.
The tall pines about remind me a little of Glacier.
The lake with its low range about it a trifle of Grand Lake at Rocky Mountains.
So we sleep tonight and rejoice in spite of a cold wind impossible to keep out.
July 30, 1923.
Wind Cave National Park.
We took the medium-length trail devoting 4 hours to the tour.
We have visited our eighth national park.
November 30, 1923.
Arrived in time for a full day of seeing hot springs.
Our ninth national park.
August 24, 1925.
We are off into Mesa Verde.
For 31 miles, we wound and wound, round and round, up and up.
First the switchback road with its sharp-grade curves, then the knife-edge highway and Mesa Verde.
Here it was.
Scrubby little pinion trees, canyon, and spruce tree house over there in full sight.
Altogether different than we had expected.
COYOTE: Mesa Verde meant that 12 parks had been checked off Margaret's list.
Like many other Americans, the Gehrkes realized they were now collecting parks.
DUNCAN: In the early days, when you came into a park, you had to pay a fee if you brought an automobile.
And so they'd give you this sticker that you would put on your windshield.
And after a while, people sort of saw that as, you know, proof that they'd been to parks, and they decided, well, I'll start, you know, collecting parks.
I will try to get all of the parks.
I'll try to go to all of them and get my stickers.
Now you don't have the stickers.
You get a little passport that you can get stamped when you come into it, as your proof, if you suffer from this obsession, and you get these little stamps.
I thought that I was pretty obsessed with these kind of things, and then we met a guy named Tuan Luong.
He was born in Paris to Vietnamese parents.
Got a degree in artificial intelligence, became an avid rock climber and decided he wanted to continue rock climbing and so he did his post-graduate work in California so he could be close to El Capitan and Yosemite.
And he soon decided that he wanted to photograph in every national park, and so he set out to do it, and he takes these incredible photographs... and he has now taken photographs in every national park that exists in the United States today, all 58 national parks.
So you see this is, structurally this-- this is the first edition of the National Geographic guide to the national parks.
And so what I have is that on this first page here I put a stamp for each of the parks that I visited.
And, well, I've visited all of them so far.
There is the 58.
Some of them, they are just somewhat faded.
I photograph in all the 58 with my camera, and I think I'm the only photographer to have done so.
MAN: The dreamy blue haze that ever hovers over the mountains softens all outlines, lends a mirage-like effect of great distance to objects that are but a few miles off, while those farther removed grow more and more intangible until finally the skyline blends with the sky itself.
There are 7 peaks of 6,000 feet altitude that still have no name.
Could anything better prove the astonishing isolation of this majestic region though set as it is in the very midst of American civilization?
COYOTE: When Horace Kephart had first come to the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee in 1904, he was a broken man.
Precociously brilliant, he had entered college at age 13, enrolled as a graduate student at Cornell when he turned 17, took a prestigious job in Yale University's library, and got married before he was 25.
As head of the St. Louis Mercantile Library, he had gone on to make a name for himself as an expert on early western explorations.
But his marriage proved unhappy.
Kephart turned to heavy drinking, and when he lost his job and his wife left him, taking their 6 children with her, he had suffered a breakdown.
At age 42, he decided to start over in a place where he could lose himself in the wilderness and find a new purpose for his life.
He chose the Smoky Mountains, "which seemed," he wrote, "like an Eden, still unpeopled and unspoiled."
MAN AS HORACE KEPHART: When I went south into the mountains, I was seeking a back of beyond.
I yearned for a strange land and a people that had the charm of originality.
I wanted to enjoy a free life in the open air, the thrill of exploring new ground.
Here, in the wild wood, I have found peace, cleanliness, health of body and mind.
COYOTE: The Smokies are the tallest mountains in the Appalachian chain, hosting the world's greatest diversity of plant, animal, and insect life of any region in a temperate climate zone.
Including more than 100 species of native trees, spruce and hemlock, giant tulip poplars and chestnut oaks.
A greater variety of trees than in all of Europe.
For centuries, it had been the home of the Cherokees, until most of them were forced from their land and sent to Oklahoma on what came to be known as the Trail of Tears.
In their place, other people had settled in the remote mountaintops and hollows.
Isolate farmers, moonshiners, Confederate deserters, and Union sympathizers hiding out during the Civil War; Cherokees who had evaded removal, and a collection of other people like Horace Kephart on the run for one reason or another from civilization.
MAN AS HORACE KEPHART: Seldom during my forest exile did I feel lonesome in the daytime.
But when supper would be over and black night closed in on my hermitage, and the owls began calling all the blue devils of the woods, one needed some indoor occupation to keep him in good cheer, and that is how I came to write my first little book.
COYOTE: Kephart's book, "Camping and Woodcraft," a guidebook for those who travel in the wilderness, became known as the camper's bible.
He quickly published another book, "Our Southern Highlanders," about the people living around him in the place he now considered home.
He proposed that the Smoky Mountains be made into a national park.
Otherwise, he feared the great woods would suffer the same fate as nearly all the other eastern forests.
MAN AS HORACE KEPHART: I am not a very religious man.
But often when standing alone before my maker in this house not made with hands, I bowed my head with reverence and thanked God for his gift of the great forest to one who loved it.
[Chopping] Not long ago I went to that same place again.
It was wrecked, ruined, desecrated, turned into a thousand rubbish heaps, utterly vile and mean.
Did anyone ever thank God for a lumberman slashing?
COYOTE: Giant lumber companies were buying up large parcels of land at cheap prices, hiring local workers at equally cheap wages and beginning to systematically strip the mountains of their forest canopy.
This was logging on a new industrial scale.
Railroads were extended into nearly every valley, bringing steam-powered skidders and log loaders to handle the massive trees of the previously untouched woodlands.
Cornfields were transformed into sawmills, and towns sprang up around them.
Farther up toward the mountain peaks, portable housing called string towns were assembled to keep the workers close to their jobs.
When one section was cleared, they moved everything still farther up and began again.
By the mid-1920s, more than 300,000 acres had been clear-cut.
"Much of the Smokies," one resident said, "looked as if it had been skinned."
Of the 100,000 acres of virgin forest still remained.
Kephart and others like him wanted those trees spared.
"I owe my life to these mountains," he said.
Among those joining the cause was another man who, like Kephart, had arrived as a stranger.
Masahara Izuka born in Osaka, Japan, in 1881, had come to the United States to study mining, though by 1915 his university days were over and he had permanently severed ties with his family in Japan.
He was wandering the country in search of a job-- Colorado, St. Louis, New Orleans-- When his travels brought him to Asheville, North Carolina at the edge of the Smokies.
MAN AS MASAHARA IZUKA: This is a mountainous area.
It will be cold enough to require a blanket in the autumn.
An excellent place to live.
Nothing can be better.
Now, if only I make a lot of money.
COYOTE: He changed his name to George Masa, set about to learn better English, and took a position in the laundry room at Ashville's exclusive Grove Park Inn.
He was soon promoted to the valet desk, where his intelligence and gentle friendliness made him a favorite of the hotel's elite clientele.
To make a little extra money, Masa began processing the film and printing photographs from the guests' cameras, a skill that quickly blossomed into a new job with a professional photographer and then a business of his own.
Though barely 5 feet tall and weighing just over 100 pounds, he lugged his heavy camera equipment everywhere, searching the Smokies for a new vantage point, Then waiting for hours for the perfect light to take a picture.
The local chamber of commerce eventually bought his photos to promote the region in their brochures.
Masa turned some of them into color postcards for sale to tourists.
His love of the mountains inevitable brought him into contact with the man who had been trying to do with words what Masa was now doing with photographs.
MAN AS HORACE KEPHART: I have been out with George on several of his trips, exploring the wildest and most rugged parts, scaling precipitous devling rocky defiles, where no sign has been left by man.
COYOTE: Horace Kephart quickly became Masa's closest friend and easily recruited him into the crusade to save the Smokies.
Others were joining as well.
Community leaders in Asheville and in Knoxville, Tennessee, got on the bandwagon.
Some out of a love of the mountains; some in the belief that tourism would result in better roads and bolster the local economy.
A New York publicity firm, brought in by the Knoxville Automobile Club, suggested that the group call itself the Great Smoky Mountain Conservation Association.
The name caught on.
Soon the mountains themselves were referred to as the Great Smokies.
On the North Carolina side, boosters published a promotional booklet with 5 photographs by George Masa and text by Horace Kephart.
MAN AS HORACE KEPHART: We have 18 national parks in the West.
They comprise an area of over 11,000 square miles.
East of the Mississippi River, there is but 1, far up on the Maine Coast, and it covers only 8 sqaure miles.
Three-fourths of the American people live east of the Mississippi.
Most of them cannot afford the time or the money that must be spent to visit the western parks.
COYOTE: In 1926, with the support of Stephen Mather, Congress authorized the creation of 3 new southern parks: in Virginia and Kentucky as well as in the Smoky Mountains.
But there was a hitch.
Congress insisted that the money to buy the land come from the states or private donations.
The federal governemnt would not put in a penny.
In Tennessee and North Carolina, a fundraising goal was set at $10 million, which seemed an impossibly lofty figure for one of the poorest sections of the country.
But people from all walks of life rallied to the cause.
Local ministers held special Smoky Mountain Sunday services to encourage their congregations to contribute.
Bellboys at the Farragut Hotel in Knoxville donated a dollar each.
Students in the city's high school pledged $2,490, including the entire proceeds from the junior class play.
Asheville's newspaper reported major contributions of $1,000 and higher from prominent businesses and families... as well as donations from every grade school, white and black, in the city's segregated school district.
Children were raiding their piggybanks for pennies and nickels.
The logging industry fought back with full-page advertisements in local newspapers, arguing that a national park would ruin their business and eliminate the jobs that went with it.
Meanwhile, they were frantically cutting the old-growth forests within the proposed park boundaries, 60 acres a day according to 1 estimate, hoping to extract everything they could before the land was closed to them.
By the Spring of 1927, the fund drive to save the Great Smokies had reached $5 million in cash and pledges.
But it was only half of what was needed.
Kephart, Masa, and other park supporters were now caught in a race against time and the loggers' saw.
And time was running out.
[Bird screeches] MAN AS J.B. PRIESTLY: If I were an American, I should make my remembrance of it the final test of men, art, and poesy.
I should ask my self, is this good enough to exist in the same country as the canyon?
How would I feel about this man, this kind of art, these political measures if I were near that rim?
Every member or officer of the federal government ought to remind himself with triumphant pride... that he is on the staff of the Grand Canyon.
MAN: For more than 16 years, I have been exploring and working in the Grand Canyon of Arizona on power sites.
I now have the financial backing to build 2 huge hydroelectric plants in the Grand Canyon to electrify every railroad, mine, city, town, and hamlet in Arizona.
Senator Ralph Henry Cameron.
COYOTE: Since before the turn of the century, Ralph Henry Cameron had considered the Grand Canyon his own private fiefdom.
In 1919, he had lost a prolonged fight to keep the canyon from becoming an national park, and a series of court rulings had ordered him to abandon many of the questionable mining claims he had used to gain effective control of some particularly scenic spots, including the Bright Angel Trail, the main path from the Canyon rim to the Colorado River.
But after being elected to represent Arizona in the U.S. Senate, Cameron carried on as if nothing had changed.
Despite repeated court injunctions, he simply refused to remove his buildings.
And through his tight grip on the political machine of northern Arizona, prevented any action from being taken to make him comply.
Park rangers opposed to him resorted to having their mail sent in code because they suspected that the canyon's postmaster, Cameron's brother-in-law, was opening their letters.
When Cameron proposed 2 giant hydroelectric dams and a platinum mine within the park, Stephen Mather decided the senator had gone too far and set out to stop him and all the other developers who were planning dams in other national parks.
Mather did what he always did best, galvanizing public support.
Newspapers, women's clubs, and conservation groups rallied to the cause and lobbied congress to keep dams out of any existing national park.
No one wanted another Hetch Hetchy.
MAN AS STEPHEN MATHER: Can we not preserve a few of our magnificent lakes, a few of the priceless waterfalls without encountering the grasping, calloused hand of commercialism extended to deprive our children of their heritage?
Once a small dam is authorized, other dams will follow.
One misstep is fatal.
COYOTE: Proposed dams in Sequoia, Glacier, and Yellowstone were stopped.
And in the Grand Canyon, all of Cameron's projects were stopped, too.
[Thunder] Ralph Cameron took any opposition to his plans personally.
Now he lashed out.
He managed to have the entire appropriation for Grand Canyon National Park removed from the senate budget.
He denounced Mather on the senate floor and instigated a congressional investigation that traveled from park to park, trying to embarrass both Mather and Albright by stirring up spurious claims against their integrity.
But it all backfired.
Newspapers began their own investigations into Cameron, highlighting how he had used his senate position to further his private interests.
Park supporters in congress took the unusual step of openly criticizing a fellow member for his vendetta.
[Thunder] And in 1926, the voters of Arizona refused to re-elect him.
Out of power, Cameron could no longer protect his Grand Canyon empire.
His fraudulent mining claims finally had to be abandoned.
Indian Gardens, the dilapidated rest stop on the trail down to the river where Cameron's outhouses contaminated the only fresh water, had to be turned over to the park.
And at Bright Angel Trail, the toll gate was finally removed so that the people who actually owned the park could freely use it.
MAN: I recall when I was 12 years old looking into the Grand Canyon and being told by the ranger on the rim that there were rocks down there that were nearly 2 billion years old... and thinking to myself, I'm just 12 years old.
This canyon, at least the rocks if not the actual scene that I was looking at, had been there for umpteen times longer than I had been on the planet, had been alive, and that humbled me.
I remember thinking to myself, we don't have very long on this planet.
And at the same time, I felt a greatness, what a privilege to be here, what a privilege to be an American and to look into that canyon and have this as an American icon and to be able to reassure myself that one day I would come back and see this place again.
WOMAN AS BESSIE HYDE: Some ships sail from port to port, following contentedly the same old wind.
While others who, through restlessness, watch new seas at each break of day.
We of the night will know many things of which you sleepers have never dreamed.
COYOTE: As the sentimental poetry she loved to write made abundantly clear, Bessie Haley Hyde yearned for a life of romantic adventure.
By 1928, when she was 22 years old, she had already picked up and moved half a dozen times, studied art and design among the bohemians of San Francisco, and in the space of less than 2 years, got married, got a quickie divorce in Nevada, and then got married again.
Her new husband, Glen Hyde, age 29, was an Idaho potato farmer with his own thirst for doing the unusual.
He had become an experienced river runner in the northwest, having built and guided a boat down Idaho's treacherous Salmon River, the fabled river of no return.
Few of their friends were surprised, therefore, when Glen and Bessie announced they would celebrate their honeymoon by attempting something that fewer than 50 people had ever accomplished: take a boat through the Grand Canyon on the turbulent Colorado River.
Bessie Hyde would be the first woman ever to try it.
They started out on October 20, 1928, from Green River Utah, in a 2-ton scow Glen had built for $50 and then loaded with supplies: bags of Idaho potatoes and home-canned vegetables, a rifle for shooting deer and ducks along the way, and a set of bedsprings so they could sleep in comfort on the boat.
Like other northwest boatmen, Glen had never worn life preservers running rivers.
and he saw no need for them on the Colorado.
After 2 weeks, they reached the start of the Grand Canyon a Lee's Ferry, where locals advised the couple against proceeding any farther.
They considered Glen's boat ill-suited for the huge rapids farther downstream and thought it folly to be entering the big canyon without companions in a second boat.
Glen would hear none of it.
They were 2 days ahead of schedule, and the Colorado seemed no harder to master than the Salmon.
WOMAN AS BESSIE HYDE: The wind is blowing so much that everything is just about covered with sand, including Glen and I.
We should be nearly to Grand Canyon Village, but of course, it is hard to tell.
The scenery is really more majestic.
[Bird screeches] We've had lots and lots of riffles, large and small, and have been gliding along at a great rate.
We've had all kinds of camps, from beach to rock shelves.
COYOTE: Moving downstream with the stone walls towering above them, they were seeing the Grand Canyon from a perspective few people had experienced: smaller side canyons of almost unimaginable beauty around every bend of the river; waterfalls pouring out of sheer stone RJto feed the Colorado as it courses by; and always the rapids, where the river's power in its battle with anything in its way was on full display.
Farther into the canyon, the rapids got bigger and more treacherous.
Bessie, who weighed less than 100 pounds, had already been tossed into the water like a matchstick by the big sweep oar.
Later, Glen, too, was knocked from the boat.
Bessie somehow managed to throw him a rope and get him back in but was badly shaken.
"I was ready to climb the canyon wall right then and there," she wrote, "but Glen laughed at me."
At the bottom of the Bright Angel Trail, the beached the scow and hiked up to the south rim and civilization.
They enjoyed a big meal at the fancy El Tovar Hotel and spent a cozy night in a tent cabin at Grand Canyon Village.
The next morning, after buying supplies and arranging to have them hauled by mule down to the boat, the couple paid a visit to Emery Kolb's photographic studio.
Kolb and his brother had themselves made a legendary descent of the Colorado in 1911, compiling thrilling footage of their journey which they showed each day to tourists.
Emery took the Hyde's photograph, as he had of virtually every tourist at the canyon rim for a quarter century and gave them a signed copy of his brother's book about the 1911 trip.
Glen and Bessie's dream was to follow the Kolbs' example, make a name for themselves with their own daring adventure, write a best-selling book about it, and then go on the lecture circuit.
The Hydes were certain that they would soon be famous when they ran into a reporter from the Denver Post, who saw the potential in their story and eagerly hung on their every word.
"I've had the thrills of my life," Bessie told him.
I've been thoroughly drenched a dozen times, but I'm enjoying every minute of the adventure.
Others who saw the Hydes that day told a different story, that Bessie had already had enough of the Colorado and was reluctant to continue the journey.
When she said good-bye to his family, Emery Kolb remembered, Bessie looked at his daughter's shoes and said, "I wonder if I shall ever wear pretty shoes again."
At the small tourist camp at the bottom of the Bright Angel Trail, the Hydes signed the guestbook, agreed to let a wealthy vacationer ride along with them for 1 day, and set off once more on November 17.
On the 18th, they dropped their passenger off at a place called Hermit Camp, just upstream from the 10 biggest cascades in the canyon.
He asked to take their photograph, and they complied.
Then Glen and Bessie Hyde got back in their boat... and disappeared.
By mid-December, news that the honeymooners had not been heard from in a month was captivating the nation.
MAN: The "San Francisco Chronicle."
Mr. and Mrs. Glen Hyde, now lost in the canyon, certainly could not have been aware of the perils of such a honeymoon voyage.
An anxious country watching the search with hope that they would be found and rescued also hopes that the advertisement they have given of the desperate character of this adventure will deter others.
COYOTE: President Calvin Coolidge finally ordered the Army Air Corps to aid in the search by flying over the canyon.
And at last, the scow was sighted.
Emery and Elsworth Kolb grabbed their cameras and hurried to the site... which they reached on Christmas Day.
The scow was floating in the still waters of an eddy, it's bowline caught in the rocks 30 feet underwater.
Everything seemed untouched on deck: a baked ham, a sack of flour and other food, hiking boots and warm clothes, the bedsprings and blankets, the Hydes' money and the book Emery Kolb had given them, Glen's rifle, Bessie's camera with 6 rolls of film, and a small journal in which Bessie had been keeping notes for the book she intended to write.
The last entry from November 30 simply stated, "Ran 16 rapids today."
Bessie and Glen Hyde had found the adventure and the celebrity they had been seeking.
But neither of them was ever seen again.
KIRK: In a national park, you can see something that's more stable than you are... [Thunder] something that's more enduring than you are.
Our moment on stage is so brief, but if you can be aware of the ingredients that make up the stage upon which you live your life, dance your life, you can enjoy the dance of life ever so much more.
MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT: If you have ever stood and looked across to Cascade Canyon weaving its sinuous way toward the summit of the Tetons... you will know the joy of being in a sacred place.
Designed by God to be protected forever.
COYOTE: Many years earlier, Horace Albright and Stephen Mather had been in Yellowstone when they took a day trip to check on a new road being built from the park's southern entrance toward the valley just beyond, called Jackson Hole in Wyoming.
There they saw something neither of them would ever forget, a stunning series of granite spires rising into the sky from a flat sagebrush plain, adorned with a necklace of sparkling lakes and the shimmering Snake River.
It was the Tetons.
As far back as 1882, General Phil Sheridan had argued that Yellowstone Park needed to be made even bigger to include the natural grazing range of the world's largest surviving elk herd.
The Tetons and surrounding lowlands were an essential part of the Elks' migratory home, and conservationists clung to the hope for what they called Greater Yellowstone.
A small group of dude ranch owners in Jackson Hole also worried that the valley was becoming too developed and suggested that some private holdings be purchased and then combined with the public lands.
When he became Yellowstone's superintendent, Albright made the cause his own.
MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT: This may sound juvenile and presumptuous, but I took it personally.
I really felt I had a mission to preserve the Grand Tetons in the only way I knew, through the National Park Service.
COYOTE: Year after year, every dignitary Albright escorted around Yellowstone would eventually find himself being led to a vantage point offering a view south of the park's borders toward the Tetons while Albright passionately explained the reasons why they needed to be added to his park.
Congressmen, influential journalists, and 2 presidents got the treatments.
One day, Albright learned that a private citizen traveling incognito under the name of Mr. Davison, was about to visit Yellowstone.
His real identity was John D. Rockefeller, Jr., head of one of the richest families and greatest fortunes in America.
He had put up the money to purchase land on Mount Desert Island in Maine and donated it to the federal government to create Acadia National Park.
More recently his generosity had established a museum at Mesa Verde.
Albright was thrilled to learn that the great philanthropist was coming to Yellowstone, but before he arrived, Albright heard from Mather, instructing him to respect Rockefeller's privacy.
WOMAN: He received a letter from Stephen Mather telling him don't you dare talk about trying to get the Tetons.
You are not to tell Mr. Rockefeller anything about your dream.
He always sort of added the quotation marks.
So he didn't.
He saw Mr. Rockefeller, and he didn't say a word.
The Rockefeller family came back in 1926, and this time Mr. Mather either didn't care or he forgot to tell him not to talk about it.
So of course he did immediately.
He took them down there through the valley.
COYOTE: Rockefeller soon began to see things he didn't like.
MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT: Why are those telephone lines on the west side of the road where they mar the view of the mountains, he asked.
Why is that ramshackle old building allowed to stand over there where it blocks the view?
I explained that it was on private land.
Mrs. Rockefeller seemed increasingly upset as we passed a woebegone-looking old dancehall, some dilapidated cabins, a burned-out gasoline station, a few big billboards.
The Rockefellers expressed great concern that this spectacular country was rapidly going the way of development and destruction.
As the shadows lengthened, they stopped to watch the sunset.
As we sat on logs, I began to unfold my dream for the area and how I had been trying for years to save the Tetons and the whole valley north of Jackson.
Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller listened.
When I finished, they remained silent as we watched the sun disappear behind the jagged peaks, casting long, sharp shadows across the valley.
I felt a little let down.
Here I had laid out my fondest dream and there was no word or comment.
COYOTE: But 4 months later, Albright was invited to Rockefeller's New York office to discuss the Tetons again.
This time he showed Rockefeller detailed maps and cost estimates for a modest plan to purchase some of the land near Jackson Lake.
SCHENCK: And Mr. Rockefeller studied it quite a while, and then he shook his head.
And he looked up and he said, "Mr. Albright, "this is interesting and everything," but he said, "this isn't what I meant.
"I want to know how much it would cost to buy that valley."
And my father, I heard him so many times tell the story, and he said, "My heart stopped beating right then... "at the whole valley."
COYOTE: "I remember you used the word dream," Rockefeller told Albright, recounting in detail the grand panorama they had surveyed while watching the sunset.
"That's the area for which I want cost estimates," Rockefeller said.
"The family," he added, is only interested in an ideal project."
Albright went back to work and soon presented a much grander proposal: the purchase of more than 30,000 acres at a cost that would exceed $1 million and possibly much more if word got out that Rockefeller money was behind the purchases and land prices skyrocketed.
Rockefeller immediately agreed to it all, and to conceal his participation, formed the Snake River Land Company, ostensibly a cattle business that began buying up properties through a local banker in Jackson, a man who not only did not know the true purpose of the purchases, but even opposed the idea of a greater Yellowstone.
When congress finally created the Small Grand Teton National Park 2 years later, Albright and Rockefeller were disappointed that the boundaries included only the eastern front of the mountains themselves and none of the surrounding valley.
Undeterred, Rockefeller continued quietly buying up land, giving Albright hope that his dream might one day be realized.
"Rockefeller was becoming," Albright said, "one of the best friends the national parks ever had."
MAN AS ROBERT STERLING YARD: Already the national parks are magnificently affecting the national mind.
Nowhere else do people from all the states mingle in quite the same spirit as they do in their national parks.
One sits at dinner, say, between a Missouri farmer and an Idaho miner, and at supper between a New York artist and an Oregon shopkeeper.
One climbs mountains with a chance crowd from Vermont, Louisiana, an Texas... and sits around the evening campfire with a California grape grower, a locomotive engineer from Massachusetts, and a banker from Michigan.
Here the social differences so insisted on at home just don't exist.
Perhaps for the first time, one realizes the common America and loves it.
In the national parks, all are just Americans.
Robert Sterling Yard.
COYOTE: In 1928, yearly visitation at the national parks topped 3 million for the first time.
"The parks," Stephen Mather proudly proclaimed, "do not belong to one state or to one section.
They have become democratized.
In many ways he was right.
No longer did park visitors come exclusively from the upper classes.
They now came from the new, expanding but predominantly white middle class.
Americans with their own cars, more money in their pockets and more time to spend it.
Congress, too, seemed more wiling to support the park system.
It doubled and then redoubled the annual appropriations, though the bulk of the money was for improving roads, to accommodate the car-driving tourists pouring into the park.
Mather now embarked on an ambitious plan in which each park was to have one major road that would open up its scenic wonders to the motoring public.
MAN: The 1920s see, in certain national parks, some of the most mind-boggling roads the world has ever seen because the Park Service is willing to take a highway to heights and to places that no other sane humane being would ever imagine taking a roadway.
And so we see these monumental roads providing some of the most amazing driving experiences you can find on this planet, to this day.
DUNCAN: Mather wanted a road into every park that would show off, in his mind, the beauty of the park, and at Glacier was the toughest place.
He went up there to personally inspect it, and the highway engineers showed him, "Well, we'll come up this valley" or "we'll crisscross with these--" I don't know how many--more than a dozen switchbacks up to the pass.
Fortunately, standing next to him was Thomas Vint, who was the landscape architect for the National Park Service, and Mather said, "Well, what do you think?"
And he said, "It'll look like miners have been here," and Mather was horrified by the notion of it and finally decided, well, we'll do this in a different way.
It'll be longer.
It'll be more expensive, but it won't detract from the view, and the result was Going to the Sun Highway, which is one of the glories of all roads in the United States.
COYOTE: Now, at Mather's insistence, landscape architects--artists, not engineers--were employed to oversee every detail of all national park roads.
CRONON: What happens is that the parks are essentially completely converted to become available to people in private automobiles, so there are new roadways that are carved through the corridors, there are rest stops that are designed to provide framed vistas of what you're supposed to see in the parks, there are new maps, new guide books.
The parks are reinvented in order to provide a canvas that people will witness this nature in these parks as if they were looking at a painting through the screen of an automobile.
MAN AS ROBERT STERLING YARD: So rapid is the increase of travel to the parks that it is none too early to anticipate the time when their popularity shall threaten their primary purpose.
While we are fighting for the protection of the National Park System from its enemies, we may also have to protect it from its friends.
Robert Sterling Yard.
DUNCAN: Robert Sterling Yard went through an incredible transformation.
He started off being paid by Stephen Mather to be the flack for this new Park Service.
Later he got sent over to a new organization, the National Parks Association, which started off as under the wing of Stephen Mather.
But gradually Yard started to say, "I think Mather is "pushing this too much.
"He's going too much into spectacle, too much into "entertainment, too many cars."
Yard wanted to have what he called "national primeval parks."
This kept them as pure as John Muir had described them.
That's where he was going--a purist of what parks should be, and eventually he became one of the greatest critics of the National Park Service.
COYOTE: Yard also found himself opposing his old friend when Kentucky's Mammoth Cave and Virginia's Shenandoah National Park had been set aside.
Mather loved having two more parks in the east, but Yard thought they did not meet what he called "national park standards."
The Virginia site was too small and lacked primitive forests, he said.
And no one from the Park Service, including Mather, had ever been to Mammoth Cave.
But the final straw for Robert Sterling Yard was Mather's plans for highways in every park.
Hoping to start what he called "a new nationwide movement to preserve the primitive," he joined forces with the celebrated conservationist Aldo Leopold, an idealistic young forester named Bob Marshall, and a handful of other like-minded people to form an organization to protect pristine lands, not just from lumbermen and developers, but from the National Park Service itself.
They called it The Wilderness Society.
RUNTE: It's very ironic that the National Park Service, which was called upon to preserve nature, is then seen as an impediment to its preservation because it is not as interested in wilderness as a growing number of Americans are starting to be.
So the National Park Service is accused of demeaning wilderness, of wanting to build roads into wilderness, of wanting to make wilderness everything a windshield experience, an overlook experience, and many people in the emerging wilderness movement begin to become very critical of the National Park Service and of Stephen Mather.
MAN: He would talk for hours, reviewing his plans for the national parks.
"They belong to everybody," he used to say.
"We've got to do what we can to see that nobody stays away "because he can't afford it."
"I hear lots of complaints about the tin canners," I told him.
"They dirty up the parks, strew cans and papers all over."
"What if they do?"
he would say.
"They own as much of the parks as anybody else.
"We can pick up the tin cans.
"It's a cheap way to make better citizens."
Gilbert Stanley Underwood.
COYOTE: Stephen Mather still enjoyed nothing better than traveling from park to park in his big touring car, wearing a park ranger's uniform, and keeping a frenetic pace that became legendary.
"We wore ourselves out trying to stay with him for 16 hours a day," one traveling companion recalled, "and then we had to sit up half the night "listening to him talk it over."
DUNCAN: Mather could be just a bundle of unbounded energy.
Albright said at times he felt that he was the mightiest man in the world, and that's how he operated a lot of the time.
COYOTE: No one admired Mather more than Horace Albright, and no one in the Park Service was more privy to the director's periodic wild mood swings.
At least two more times in the 1920s, Mather was incapacitated by depression while Albright quietly filled in.
SCHENCK: They just said he was on vacation because they loved the man so much they never wanted him hurt in any way.
COYOTE: In the spring of 1927, on his way back from inspecting Hawaii National Park, Mather suffered a heart attack, but a month later he was in Yosemite, where he hiked to Glacier Point to prove to his doctor that he was back at full strength and capable of resuming his busy schedule.
He went to Mt.
Rainier to go over plans for a new road in the park and attended the opening of a majestic lodge on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.
At Zion, he showed up to check on the progress of a mile-long tunnel being blasted through the sandstone.
It was considered an engineering marvel, and Mather became so excited about it he stayed for several more days so he could become the first person to walk through it.
On July 4, 1928, he celebrated his 61st birthday in his favorite park, Yosemite, and took a long horseback ride up out of the valley to the Towalame Meadows in the high country.
He had persuaded some newspapers to report on the logging being done on a grove of giant sugar pines located on a privately owned parcel within the park boundaries and was pleased to learn that their stories had prompted John D. Rockefeller Jr. to put up $1.7 million to help buy the land, make it part of Yosemite, and protect the trees forever.
Then, on November 5, 1928, he suffered a serious stroke.
Albright rushed to his side.
MAN AS HORACE ALBRIGHT: He had been trying to say something but could not make himself understood.
The only word they had been able to get was "cascades."
"Cascades in Yosemite?"
I asked, but that was not it.
Cascade Corner in Yellowstone?
But that was not it either.
Cascade Mountains in Washington?
His eyes crinkled in a smile.
That was it.
He wanted to know about the new highway across the northeastern corner of Mt.
Rainier that the state of Washington was planning to name after him.
I told him that signs were now going up along the highway designating it Mather Parkway.
A relaxed, satisfied look came over his face.
COYOTE: On January 22, 1930, after more than a year of incapacitation, Stephen Mather died.
In his memory, a mountain just east of Mt.
McKinley would be named Mt.
An overlook at the Grand Canyon would be called Mather Point.
A scenic stretch of the Potomac River would be named Mather Gorge.
A nationwide tree-planting campaign in his honor would also result in Mather Forest near Lake George.
And in every national park, the agency he had created and molded to his vision would erect a bronze plaque with his likeness and these words: "There will never come an end "to the good that he has done."
MAN AS HORACE KEPHART: George Masa and I put in a lot of work on the park area--George especially, for while I only interviewed old residents throughout the territory, he labored long and earnestly on his maps.
It is astonishing that a Jap, not even naturalized, so far as I know, should have done all this exploring and photographing and mapping without compensation but at much expense to himself out of sheer loyalty to the park idea.
He deserves a monument.
COYOTE: Horace Kephart and his friend George Masa had already devoted years of their lives trying to get the Smoky Mountains set aside as America's newest national park.
The $5 million pledged by the people of Tennessee and North Carolina was only half of the $10 million price tag for the land.
Park boosters had been desperately looking for other possible sources to make up the difference.
The search ended once again with John D. Rockefeller Jr. After being shown some of Masa's photographs and told about the impending destruction of the old-growth forests, Rockefeller at first pledged $1.5 million.
Then he reconsidered and offered the entire $5 million that was still needed, from a fund named for his mother.
But the timber companies had not given up the fight.
As owners of 85% of the land in the proposed park, they held out for exorbitant prices and kept cutting trees, sometimes even after signing agreements to transfer ownership.
"Boys, we sold it," one company supervisor told his employees.
"When we got done with that poor little ridge," a worker remembered, "there wasn't a toothpick left on it."
Finally, the cutting stopped and the lumbermen left.
More than 5,500 people, mostly whites and Cherokees, lived within the borders of the proposed park.
They, too, would have to leave, willingly or not.
Some happily sold their land.
Others refused, fought and lost in court, and eventually had to sell under condemnation proceedings.
Many were offered leases for up to two years as the park took shape, becoming tenants on the land they had once owned.
As the isolated cabins and their small communities-- Webb's Creek, Ravensford and Smokemont, Cataloochee and Cades Cove--emptied one by one, Horace Albright, now in charge of the Park Service, assured the people that they would always be allowed to maintain the cemeteries near their now-vacant churches.
It provided small comfort against the bitterness of removal.
Their hearts were broken, one resident remembered, and most of them left crying.
CRONON: I think the paradox of local resistance to the creation of national parks is a deep, deep paradox in American ideas of democracy because on the one hand, one of our visions is that people in a local place are the ones who best understand that place, are the ones who have its interests most at heart, and who really, ideally, ought to be the ones who vote about what should happen to that land, just as on a local school board.
And yet it is also true that these national parks are not in the local place that they are in.
They are in the nation.
They stand for the nation, and so by that understanding, the democratic institutions that should defend them are not at the local level but at the level of the nation, and this tension between federal control of our democracy and local control of our democracy is hard-wired into what we think democracy is.
MAN AS HORACE KEPHART: The long and difficult task of surveying the Smoky Mountains national parklands is finished.
It was a big undertaking and beset with discouragements of all sorts, but we've won.
Within two years, we will have good roads into the Smokies, and then--well, then I'll get out.
This will probably ruin the old country for me.
COYOTE: Horace Kephart never left the Smokies.
On April 2, 1931, he was killed in a car crash on a mountain road.
George Masa, the first to arrive and last to leave Kephart's funeral, served as pallbearer and took a photograph of the memorial service at his friend's gravesite.
MAN AS MASA: I don't know what I say about the death of our Kephart.
It shocked me to pieces.
When I am on trail, I always cry in my heart.
Wish Kep with me.
I have a walking cane which Kep carried with him, so when I go to Smokies, I carry his cane.
I call it Kep.
I miss him so much because he was my buddy.
COYOTE: In 1933, after organizing a hike to commemorate the second anniversary of Kephart's death, George Masa became sick.
With no money for his own doctor, he ended up in the county hospital, where he died on June 21, penniless and with no known relatives to notify.
His hiking club put together a funeral service in Asheville but did not have the money to bury him next to Kephart as had been his wish.
By then, the nation itself had fallen on hard times.
The Great Depression was devastating the country, and the people of Tennessee and North Carolina, despite their best intentions, were unable to fulfill many of the pledges they had made to create the park.
But now there was a new president, the cousin of Theodore Roosevelt, who had his own ambitious plans for the national parks.
Inspired by all the pennies and nickels that had been collected from everyday people, Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to intervene.
To make up the shortfall, the president allocated $1.5 million in scarce federal funds to complete the land purchases, the first time in history that the United States government had spent its own money to buy land for a national park.
Within that park, on the main divide of the Smoky Mountains that had offered them so much solace and for which they, in turn, devoted so much of their lives, is a 6,217-foot peak that now bears the official name of Mt.
And on its broad shoulder is another, somewhat shorter peak now called Masa Knob.
[Birds chirping] WOMAN AS MARGART KEPHART: May 28, 1929.
The Grand Canyon.
We arrived this morning after a pleasant run through national forest over paved highway.
We made camp and had dinner before we set out to look at the canyon.
There it was--beautiful, majestic, sublime.
But somehow I missed the thrill of that first look 14 years ago.
Great moments in our lives do not return.
COYOTE: Among the millions of Americans who had felt Stephen Mather's impact on the national parks were Margaret and Edward Gehrke.
In 1915, when they had first visited the Grand Canyon, Mather was just beginning his crusade to promote and develop the parks, and the number of park visitors nationwide was just over 300,000.
By 1929, when the Gehrkes reached the Grand Canyon a second time, that number would be 10 times bigger-- 3,250,000 visitors to a well-publicized string of parks and monuments stretching from Maine to California, from Hawaii to Alaska.
By then, the Gehrkes had already been to 12 of the 21 existing parks, some of them more than once.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: May 29.
For us, the canyon needs an added experience.
We decided to hike to the bottom, stay overnight, and return tomorrow.
Well, it was a great hike--7 miles to the bottom and 107 to the top.
We are stiff and lame but satisfied.
What is life but to dream and do?
COYOTE: Traveling in the new Buick they called Red Peter with a new dog named Pride as their companion, the Gehrkes kept on the move, intent on adding more parks to their list.
On June 9, they reached Sequoia National Park... on the 10th, General Grant... and on June 11, they entered John Muir's Yosemite for the first time.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: Yosemite, the incomparable Yosemite of our dreams.
Edward tried so hard to capture it all with his camera, while I wondered a bit if I could ever get it all down in my diary.
In these few days, Yosemite Valley must in some sense become ours, and we will feel in part what John Muir felt.
COYOTE: Soon they were on the move again.
Back in 1921, impassible roads had prevented them from reaching Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California.
Not this time.
9 days later, they were in Zion in southern Utah.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: June 28.
We arrived at Bryce Canyon this morning.
A gorgeous spectacle.
Fantasy and startling beauty.
The silent city with towers and fortresses and steeples and afar, a thousand windows.
COYOTE: The Gehrkes had now been to all but one of the national parks in the lower 48 at that time.
5 years later, in the summer of 1934, they made their fourth visit to Rocky Mountain National Park, a place now filled with memories stretching back to the couple's earliest trips together.
They had a different dog with them now, and a new car, one in which Edward had installed a radio to listen to while the miles rolled beneath their wheels.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: So much new pavement has changed the appearance of the country.
We see the mountains.
Before you could say Jack Robinson, we were lugging things up the steep steps into the little cabin called Rose-Den we have loved so many years.
The old familiar mountainside with its cabins, the snowy peaks beyond, the rush of water all the same.
Only I am different.
COYOTE: Margaret and Edward were both in their 50s now, and on this visit, they tended to do more driving than hiking from place to place in the park.
Margaret noted more litter on the roadside than ever before.
Edward fished as always.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: Sunday at Rose-Den.
The twilight hour is here.
I look out to dark clouds on the mountainsides.
Towards evening, we have gotten our things together for quick packing in the morning.
Our stay here in Rose Den comes to an end.
Will we come back again?
[Hammering] COYOTE: In the mid-1930s, Edward would build them a house-car, and they would take it on some trial runs to the Minnesota lakes.
But before they could embark with it on another extended tour of national parks, he took ill in 1939 and died.
Margaret would accept a job working for the University of Nebraska and no longer spend her winters dreaming of new adventures or her summers pursuing them.
But in 1948, at age 65, she would return to Rocky Mountain National Park and Rose-Den.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: I took a 5-mile walk to the village of Estes and back.
Found tourists everywhere, buying things and things.
But the walk was good.
This evening, a great storm raged on Longs Peak, and when I beheld this majesty, I felt equal to the contemplations of divinity.
Perhaps the walk cleared my vision.
COYOTE: On this trip, without Edward to do the driving, Margaret went out and back the way the couple had traveled together so many years earlier--by train.
WOMAN AS MARGARET GEHRKE: July 13, 5 P.M. En route the Zephyr.
Here I am this mid-July afternoon going home, and glad to be going home.
Surely I care little about home.
I never have.
Back to Nebraska to the hateful heat of summer to work day after day, to monotony, most would say, but glad.
This long, silver train makes swift passage.
It is streaking across the flat Colorado country as I sit here, alone.
Why should I be so near to tears?
The whole trip to Colorado like a dream now.
The whole thing drops from my shoulders now like a jeweled coat, and I lay it aside, feeling I've never worn it at all.
ANNOUNCER: Next time on "The National Parks," during a depression and a war, the parks bring jobs and peace, a young biologist revolutionizes the parks'’ wildlife policies... MAN: George Melendez Wright was the savior of wildlife in America'’s National Parks.
ANNOUNCER: and in Wyoming, battle lines are drawn along the front of the Tetons...
The ranchers were totally opposed.
It was a big uproar.
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 Captioned by the National Captioning Institute --www.ncicap.org-- 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.