Filmmaker Ken Burns to Share Highlights of Upcoming Documentary Series

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Date: March 19, 2009
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

PBS Series Airing in September Explores History of the National Parks and  Stories of Those Who Fought to Protect and Preserve America’s Natural Treasures

Today, critically acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns will visit Los Angeles to share highlights of his upcoming six-part, 12-hour series “THE NATIONAL PARKS: America’s Best Idea” at a film preview at Paramount Ranch in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Burns will spend the afternoon sharing stunning images and stories of national parks with about 1200 students at Reseda High School. He will be joined by Shelton Johnson, a park ranger from Yosemite National Park, who is featured in the series scheduled to air in September 2009 on PBS.

“Just as many of the lands that make up today’s national parks were the spiritual homes for the indigenous tribes who lived there, they had a profound and often spiritual impact on the settlers who first saw them and on the visionaries who fought tirelessly to preserve them as the common property of the American people,” said Burns. “They saw in them a visual, tangible representation of God’s majesty. Our film celebrates the beauty of these parks and the vision and foresight of the men and women who made sure that this land would be preserved.”

As the sun sets at Paramount Ranch, Burns will celebrate our national parks with over 2,000 people, including nine national park superintendents from throughout southern California, by showing a special preview of film highlights from the upcoming series. KCET personality Huell Howser (Visiting …, California’s Gold) will moderate a Q&A session with Burns following the screening, along with Ranger Johnson.
National Park Service News Release
Ranger Johnson, a 21-year veteran of the National Park Service known for his first-person presentations on the Buffalo Soldiers, will do a talk at 6:00 p.m. These soldiers, of African-American descent, were stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco. They were sent by horseback to Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks in the early 1900s to protect the parks—becoming, in essence, some of our nation’s first park rangers.
Native Chumash storyteller Julie Tumamait-Stenslie kicks off the event at 5:30 p.m. by revealing through story and song the rich, over-10,000-year heritage of her Native American community that live along the California coast and once on the Channel Islands. Tumamait traces her ancestry to Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands within Channel Islands National Park.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area rangers will lead guided hikes between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. that highlight the cinematic history associated with the Paramount Ranch Ghost Town as well as the natural history of the surrounding mountains.

These events are presented by the National Park Foundation; hosted by KCET; and supported by Santa Monica Mountains Fund, Yosemite Fund, National Parks Conservation Association, California State Parks Foundation, and REI. The event is at capacity due to tremendous public interest.

The National Park Service manages over 84 million acres, accommodating nearly 275 million visits at 391 sites, including 58 national parks and 333 national monuments, historic sites, and other units. With the help of partners the National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the national park system for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.

For more information on “THE NATIONAL PARKS: America’s Best Idea,” including high-resolution images, press releases, and bios, please visit

For information on Paramount Ranch, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area visit

Last updated: February 27, 2015

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