The National Parks: An Interview with Ken Burns

Get ready to be inspired. Ken Burns’ six-part documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea begins airing on PBS this Sunday, Sept. 27. With breathtaking visuals, the documentary tells the rich story behind the creation of our national parks, a tale filled with drama, conflict, inspiration and humanity.

While awaiting this much anticipated debut, Annette Kondo, the Wilderness Society’s communications director for the California-Nevada region, sat down with Burns to discuss the documentary’s significance for conservation on public lands.

Watch the interview here:


Watch our complete collection of videos from the interview with Ken Burns.

How National Parks relate to The Wilderness Society

Within the boundaries of the stunning national parks that Burns explores in his documentary are millions of acres of designated Wilderness, the highest level of protection afforded by the government.

Parkland Wilderness designations are important — for they ensure the most pristine portions of our precious national parks remain unblemished from human development for all Americans to enjoy year after year.

But not all national park lands are protected as Wilderness, including many lands that should be. For example, until this year only a sliver of Colorado’s stunning Rocky Mountain National Park was designated Wilderness — only 2,917 of the park’s 265,770 acres to be exact. This year, The Wilderness Society helped win the long struggle to expand those protections. Today, the majority of Rocky Mountain National Park — a full 250,000 acres — is rightfully protected as Wilderness. Now the true backcountry quality of these beloved lands will remain safe for future generations to enjoy!

Our current Wilderness work within national parks includes campaigns to expand protections of the unique desert lands of Death Valley National Park in California and the pristine desert landscapes and lush river canyons of southwest Texas’ Big Bend National Park.

Your support helps us permanently protect America’s pristine national park lands, as well as our best wild places on all other public lands, such as lands managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Learn more about Wilderness and national parks:


Bank of America is a proud sponsor of The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, and is also a proud supporter of The Wilderness Society. To learn more about our affinity banking products and credit cards, click here.

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