Documentary to highlight national parks

Sept. 26, 2009 at 4:42 PM

MARIPOSA, Calif., Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The PBS documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" highlights various U.S. national parks as well as naturalist John Muir, the director says.

Director Ken Burns said while making his six-part documentary about the country's national parks, he became enamored with the writings of Muir, who is credited as a pioneer in the preservation of the U.S. wilderness, the Bay Area News Group said Saturday.

"It's such a great thing to be hit over the head when you're working on a film," Burns said. "I just wasn't prepared for what a great writer he (Muir) was. Mark Twain said the difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. John Muir was lightning."

Yosemite National Park ranger Shelton Johnson, who appears in the 12-hour documentary, said national parks are national treasures every U.S. resident should embrace.

"I think every citizen has a responsibility to visit the national parks," Johnson said. "These landscapes helped to shape us as Americans."

The Bay Area News Group said "National Parks" debuts on PBS on Sunday.

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