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Artists and Writers

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Ansel Adams' Impact on the Parks (01:33)

Ansel Adams (1902–1984)

Episode(s): 5

With his breathtaking photographs and his work with the Sierra Club, Ansel Adams, a celebrated photographer from San Francisco, became an influential force in the designation of Kings Canyon as a national park.

Adams' 1938 book, Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trail, captivated President Franklin Roosevelt after Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes showed it to the president. Roosevelt would not only designate Kings Canyon as a national park in 1940, but as a roadless park, leaving it completely undeveloped. Due to his handicap, Roosevelt's only access to the splendor of Kings Canyon would be through Adams' photography.

Adams' influence on the national parks was not limited to his efforts in Kings Canyon. His relationship with Ickes led to a contract with the Department of the Interior in 1941. Over the course of eight years, Adams traveled to every national park except the Everglades, capturing thousands of spectacular images for prominent display in Washington.

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Nevada Barr

Nevada Barr (1952– )

Episode(s): 4, 5, 6
Associated Park(s): Mesa Verde

Nevada Barr is a New York Times best-selling author and award-winning novelist who resides in New Orleans, Lousiana. Barr is the creator of the Anna Pigeon murder mysteries, which feature a female park ranger in a different park for each book.

Barr grew up in Johnston, California and is active in the environmental movement, having worked as a ranger in a number of national parks across the country including Isle Royale, Guadalupe Mountains, Mesa Verde and the Natchez Trace.

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Rudyard Kipling and the Grand Tour of Yellowstone. (08:24)

Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936)

Episode(s): 2
Associated Park(s): Yellowstone

British author Rudyard Kipling visited Yellowstone National Park in 1889. As a young writer on his first trip to the United States, Kipling played the tourist, traveling into the park on a guided tour with other visitors excited to see the park many referred to as "The Wonderland."

Kipling would later write popular poetry and such famed books as Jungle Book and Captains Courageous. In 1907, Kipling was the first English-speaking author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park

Send Email Postcards

Create personalized postcards using images from The National Parks series and email them to friends or family.

View with fog in valley and peaks lighted by sunset, winter; Yosemite National Park

Download Wallpapers

Download some of the glorious images from the documentary to enjoy on your desktop.

Untold Stories

Untold Stories

Discover the "hidden" stories of the national parks that explore the role of minorities in the creation and protection of the parks.

National Park Service rangers

Visit America's Best Idea

You own 391 national parks. Come for a visit and take away the experience of a lifetime. Help the National Park Service make America's Best Idea even better!

Bank of America Evelyn & Walter Haas, Jr Fund Corporation for Public Broadcasting The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations Park Foundation

National Park Foundation The Peter Jay Sharp Foundation The Pew Charitable TrustsGM


Florentine Films and WETA


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