Magazine article Sunset

Q&A: Ken Burns on Our Natural Treasures

Magazine article Sunset

Q&A: Ken Burns on Our Natural Treasures

Article excerpt

Are national parks relevant in 2009?

In tough times, the parks can be an oasis. In the Great Depression, the parks had an upsurge in attendance. People came together. Somehow the parks became symbols of how we re-cohere as a country.

Favorite national park?

It has to be Yosemite ... but the Grand Canyon is the grandest canyon on Earth. And Zion has an intimacy to it ... I haven't been to a park I didn't like.

Personal memory of a park?

When I came in to film here, the last night, I couldn't sleep. We were exhausted. We'd worked hard for several days. Then I realized, back in 1951, my dad had taken me out to a national park. My mother was dying of cancer, and our household was a demoralized place. One day he took me to Shenandoah National Park, and I can remember the experiences of hiking the trails, him describing the trees, catching salamanders. …

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