SPECIAL EDITION
    Summer is heating up with exciting possibilities
    The National Park Foundation is proud to sponsor the new Ken Burns documentary
series, The National Parks: America's Best Idea. Premiering September 27 on PBS, the
film tells the story of how America's national parks came to be—focusing on people from
every conceivable background who were shaped by the landscape and in turn devoted
their lives to ensuring that the most special places in our country would be preserved for all
future generations.

For the next several months, the National Park Foundation will partner with PBS to bring you special issues of GoParks that explore this historic new film. Join us as we go behind the
scenes and into the wilds of our national parks.
         
 
  Enter your photo featuring
"America at Its Best"
  New grants help attract more
diverse audiences to parks
  Stay informed about events
related to the film
     
Q&A with filmmaker
Ken Burns
>>
  More about Ken Burns >>


 
 
 
Nothing to Sneeze At
Spring is here, and the makers of BENADRYL® and the National Park Foundation want to encourage people to get outdoors to enjoy everything our parks have to offer. Through a spring "funraiser" hosted by Mother Nature, the makers of BENADRYL made a contribution to the National Park Foundation each time someone entered a unique promotion code from specially marked packages of BENADRYL. From March 15 through June 15, the promotion generated $50,000 for NPF. You can still go online and pledge moments outdoors and encourage friends and family to do the same. There are some cool downloads available too. Learn More >>
 

 
 
The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America's national parks, works to strengthen the enduring connection between the American people and their parks and to provide support to the National Park Service by raising private funds, making strategic grants, creating innovative partnerships and increasing public awareness. NPF is proud to be a major funder of the new Ken Burns documentary series, The National Parks: America's Best Idea and congratulates Florentine Films, WETA and PBS for producing this historic film.
       
National Park Foundation
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Washington, DC 20005
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Public Broadcasting Service
2100 Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
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Q&A With Ken Burns
Ken Burns shares the stories and ideas that inspired him
to tell the history of America's national parks and the
people who protected them.

 
Why a documentary on our national parks?
I think we've always been curious about who we are as a people and what it means to be an American. I think the land and our identification with it—the mythology that surrounds it, the  

 
 
kind of hopes and dreams that we invest in it—get to the heart of  that identity. Too often we assume in history that the approach should take a national perspective, and I think what's amazing about the parks story is that it's so intimate. Part of this story is about who we are individually as we experience the parks—they help us get to know ourselves, and we can also relate to previous generations through these magnificent places.

Several times in the film, you relate how a single individual or a small group manages to have a real impact in helping to create a park. Can you talk about that?
This is the reason why biography is so important to history. It is so interesting to see, particularly in our history, that individuals do matter, that people can come across something and be a catalyst for change. William Gladstone Steel in the 1870s happened to accidentally see a picture of Oregon's Crater Lake in a newspaper that had wrapped his lunchtime meal. He resolved to go there, and once he did get there 15 years later, he devoted the next 17 years to trying to get it made into a national park—which he helped achieve. This is 32 years after having that epiphany over lunch. What is it about that? What do we learn from this?

Why does America need national parks?
They're like anchors. When we say "My country 'tis of thee"—it's my country—are we talking about city streets? Are we talking about industrial cities? No. We're talking about the land we have, and there's so very little of it that's unspoiled or that doesn't have a fence through it. Here in these special places that we've resolved together as a people to preserve, we feel a sense of commonality. You come to a national park and all of a sudden some of the barriers between people, between classes, even between nationalities are broken down and you share and have the experience of an essential, collective humanity. It's a common wealth, and my goodness, especially today we need that reminder of what we share in common. What I say to people is, "You own the grandest canyon on earth. Together you own some of the most spectacular scenery." That's pretty good news.
 
     
 
SERIES PREVIEW >>   CLIP: For the Benefit
and Enjoyment of the
People
>>
  CLIP: The Park Idea >>
 
 
 
Explore Your Parks: Download the National Park Owner's Guide
 
  The National Park Foundation's Owner's Guide is designed to make your national park experience better than ever. Full of advice about what to see and do including maps of every state and links to each national park website, the Owner's Guide offers an insider's view of the special places we love and the opportunity to experience them to their fullest. Download an Owner's Guide for free, and explore your parks as you never have before.  
 
 

2009 Share the Experience Photo Contest
Nature lovers! Amateur photographers! Kids of all ages! Your national park photos can help you win one of six great prizes—like an Olympus E-3 digital single lens reflex (DSLR) Camera Kit—with 15 chances to win in total. The 2009 Share the Experience Photo Contest, sponsored by Olympus and the National Park Foundation, showcases the more than 500 million acres of federal lands.

In celebration of Ken Burns's The National Parks: America's Best Idea, and for an additional chance to win great prizes, we are introducing a special new category. Take a photo in any of the federal recreation lands that you believe showcases "America at
Its Best." The winner of this category will be featured in an issue

Last year's winning photo
 
  of Parks magazine, in addition to winning an Olympus E-3 DSLR Camera Kit and The National Parks: America's Best Idea DVD and companion book. Enter Today >>  
 
 
America's Best Idea Grants
 
  Inspired by Ken Burns's magnificent and historic film, the National Park Foundation has provided 35 national parks with America's Best Idea grants to help connect new and traditionally underserved communities to their national parks. Made possible by the National Park Foundation, with additional funding from the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and the Popplestone Foundation, the grants are helping our national parks develop outreach strategies and community partnerships to encourage long-term stewardship. Learn more >>  
 
   
 
Owner's Guide 2009 >>  
The ultimate resource for exploring your national parks  
   
Donate Today
Send a Parks E-Postcard
Download Parks Wallpapers
National Park Service
PBS
 
   
 
  What national park lies entirely north of the Arctic Circle and contains evidence of more than 10,000 years of human civilization? Submit your answer here

And congratulations to our last quiz question winner: Mike Hashimoto of Fountain Hills, Ariz.
 
     
 
   
 
Official Federal
Recreation Lands
PHOTO CONTEST
>>
 
 
 
Collect badges from your national parks visits >>  
 
 
Preorder your copy of The National Parks: America's Best Idea DVD, companion book and CD soundtrack today! Enter the promotion code NPF22 and you will receive a 15% discount and help support the National Park Foundation. The offer ends September 1st.  
   
Share America's
Best Idea
 
GoParks will bring you monthly updates from Ken Burns, PBS and the National Park Foundation on the upcoming series The National Parks: America's Best Idea through the September 2009 premiere. Now join our communities on Facebook and Twitter:  
FACEBOOK:
 
National Park Foundation  
The National Parks: America's Best Idea (PBS)  
TWITTER:
 
GoParks (NPF)  
PBSnationalpark (PBS)  
PBS has also created new widgets so that you can track what national parks you have visited and share your stories with all park enthusiasts.  
   
Parks, Camera, Action!  
Excited about Ken Burns "America's Best Idea" documentary? Beginning this July, NPF and Olympus invite you to film your summer experiences in America’s national parks and share them in the "Your Parks" Video Challenge. What do national parks mean to you? Why do you want to protect them? Enter your video to win a one-of-a-kind park vacation, state-of-the-art Olympus cameras and more. Stay tuned at nationalparks.org for more details...  
 
 
 
 
 
 
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