National Parks: America's Best Idea | The Last Refuge (1890-1915)

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Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir, Grizzly Giant Tree, Yosemite National Park, 1903


National Parks: America’s Best Idea | The Last Refuge airs on WSKG-TV channel 46.2 on June 13, 2016 at 7pm.


A lack of congressional protection for the parks sparks a conservation movement by organizations such as the Sierra Club, led by John Muir; the Audubon Society, led by George Bird Grinnell; and the Boone and Crockett Club, led by Theodore Roosevelt.

By the end of the 19th century, widespread industrialization has left many Americans worried about whether the country – once a vast wilderness – will have any pristine land left. At the same time, poachers in the parks are rampant, and visitors think nothing of littering or carving their names near iconic sites like Old Faithful. Congress has yet to establish clear judicial authority or appropriations for the protection of the parks. This sparks a conservation movement by organizations such as the Sierra Club, led by John Muir; the Audubon Society, led by George Bird Grinnell; and the Boone and Crockett Club, led by Theodore Roosevelt. The movement fails, however, to stop San Francisco from building the Hetch Hetchy dam at Yosemite, flooding Muir’s “mountain temple” and leaving him broken-hearted before he dies

.John Muir at Yosemite

Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir at Glacier Point, Yosemite National Park, 1903

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