Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2009/09/29

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Subject: [Leica] National Park series - epiphany
From: lrzeitlin at (Lawrence Zeitlin)
Date: Tue, 29 Sep 2009 17:35:39 -0400

OK, I get it now. Ken Burns' TV series on the National Parks is not about
the parks themselves. Rather it is a story about people who became so
obsessed with a feature of the natural environment that they spent a
lifetime trying to sway the public to accept their ideas. If you want to see
pretty pictures of the parks tune in the PBS Nature programs or the National
Geographic programs.The second episode of the series detailed the
relationship between John Muir, a naturalistic zealot, and Theodore
Roosevelt, an "outdoors" political dynamo who never saw an animal that he
didn't want to kill. Somehow their interaction produced the legislation
which resulted in the National Park system. Burns' barely hidden agenda was
that the rich cannot be trusted to care for the environment, nor can the
politicians. Experience in New York state indicates that this is probably
not true. New York is replete with large state parks endowed by the
affluent. The land comprising the Adirondack State Park, a forever wild
region of mountains and forests, three times the size of Yosemite, was
purchased and donated to the public by a consortium which included the
Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, the Goulds, and the Roosevelts. The Harrimans
donated a big swath of land along the Hudson River for the Bear Mountain
State Park. The Hudson Valley was cleaned up because the rich didn't want an
industrially polluted river spoiling the view from their shoreside estates.
Of course other states might not be as environmentally enlightened.
Larry Z

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