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The National Parks: America’s Best Idea

The National Parks DVD set.

If you missed this on PBS, no worries: The National Parks, a 12-hour documentary series by Ken Burns, is available on DVD. It’s shot so beautifully (six years in the making) it will make you want to go right now to a national park. The focus is on parks history, and you’ll gain a new appreciation for John Muir and the other lesser-known park advocates who helped preserve these lands for us today. Those interviewed include Sierra Club director Carl Pope, writer Terry Tempest Williams and other articulate luminaries who lend their voices to, well, our best idea: from the mountains to the sea, public lands that we all own and need to continue to protect. If you’ve spent family vacations in national parks, you’ll enjoy the last disc, which includes stories of intergenerational inspiration found in our parks.

Downside: The somewhat old-fashioned pace and craft are more bird watching than bungee jumping, so watch to be calmly inspired rather than pumped up

Cost: $99

Buy it at: Borrow it from your local library or order it from