Saturday, March 7, 2009

Upcoming documentary

I was reading an interview with Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan about their new documentary on National Parks, see article. In the article Mr. Duncan says,

"Just north of Mount St. Helens is Mount Rainier, and that place was where Gifford Pinchot (the forest service's first director) and (Sierra Club founder) John Muir had a real shootout over the issue of are forests temples or sanctuaries, as Muir would have seen it, or are they places that can be best preserved by using them, which is how Pinchot saw it. Muir lost that larger battle with Pinchot, but the one place he did win was at Mount Rainier. It became the first national forest to become a national park."

Well, I wrote the write journalist,

"While Mr. Muir was an important voice during the period (1890-1900) in the establishment of National Parks, more specifically in California (for success or failure), he wasn't as important in the establishment of Mt. Rainier as many other people. He was a forceful public voice but he wasn't as much involved in the real background work as the others. And while many of those people lived in the Pacific Northwest and visited Mt. Rainier and the area many times, I've only found Mr. Muir was there once for a summitt climb.

I would hate to see the work of others dimished for the embelishment of Mr. Muir with respect to Mt. Rainier NP. While it's true Mt. Rainier NP was set aside from part of the existing Washington, later Mt. Rainer, Forest Reserve, both efforts for the establishment of the Forest Reserve and National Park paralleled each other in the 1890's, the FR established in 1893 and renamed in 1897, while the NP was proposed in 1893 but not created until 1899."

I will watch the documentary when it airs, and I will be curious how and how much they portray people who were instrumental in the designation of each National Park, and specifically Mt. Rainier NP for me. I believe in what I wrote because researching the history of the period up to the passage of the law desginating this NP, John Muir wasn't all that important.

I've read a lot of Muir's writings from his youth to his California travels. I like what's he did and accomplished. We could all do as much in our life, but I don't see a need to embellish a life more than it was at the expense of the many who were important. But I'll hold my judgement until the documentary is aired.

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