Celebrate America’s Best Idea: National Parks

Oxbow Bend Fall Splendor
photo by Heather Voster, NPS
September 21, 2009
In celebration of the premiere broadcast of the new Ken Burns film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, Grand Teton National Park, Grand Teton Lodge Company, WyomingPBS and WETA Television, and the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival are pleased to announce a co-sponsored community event to be held on Sunday evening, September 27. Please join family, friends, neighbors and other national park fans for a viewing of Episode One of the 12-hour, 6-part series about national parks created by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and his partner Dayton Duncan.

This public event will be held in the Explorer Room at Jackson Lake Lodge. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with a pre-reception cash bar and Jackson Lake Lodge’s signature treats for purchase. Grand Teton Lodge Company will also provide popcorn during the movie. The premiere viewing will follow at 7 p.m. with a Blu-ray high-definition disc played on a large-format television screen, offering viewers an unprecedented visual experience. Seating will be limited, and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors will open to the Explorer Room at 6:30 p.m.; those planning to attend should come early.

Burns and Duncan, co-producer and script writer, began work on their documentary film over six years ago. The filmmakers wanted to capture what they believe to be a story of an idea as uniquely American, and just as radical, as the Declaration of Independence. This new series follows in the tradition of Burns’ exploration of other American inventions, such as baseball and jazz, and it weaves together a fascinating tale of how the most exceptional places in our Nation were preserved for everyone—not for just royalty or the rich—to experience and enjoy.

Wallace Stegner called our national parks “the best idea we ever had,” and it was this sentiment that inspired the title for the series. The filmmakers and their production company, Florentine Films, visited both Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks several times in order to capture stories and scenic footage during the making of their documentary. The fruits of their labor have grown into an inspiring and educational journey into the history of the making of our National Park System.