Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to Offer Sneak Peeks at PBS Documentary

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Date: September 11, 2009

The National Park Service and WCMU Public Broadcasting invites the public to two, free preview screenings of the Ken Burns documentary series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea”, which will premiere on PBS in late September.  On Friday, September 18 at 7:00 p.m., the 30-minute sneak peak will be shown insideat the Philip Hart Visitor Center in Empire (Leelanau County) while the same presentation will take place under the stars on Saturday, September 19 at 8:00 p.m. at the Platte River Campground amphitheater (Benzie County).

Assistive listening equipment will be available at these events.  If you are interested in using the equipment, please contact the Visitor Center at 231-326-5134, ext. 328.

On Sunday, September 27,  “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” a 12-hour, six-part documentary series, directed by Burns and co-produced with his longtime colleague, Dayton Duncan, will premiere on PBS stations nationwide.  Burns believes that this is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone – and for all time.  As such, it follows in the tradition of his exploration and documentation of other American themes, such as the Civil War, baseball and jazz.

Superintendent Dusty Shultz said, “Although Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is not featured in this documentary, we are proud to be one of 391 national park sites in the entire National Park System. We hope that this film inspires more people to visit the special places that were set aside to preserve our heritage.” Both screenings are free, but reservations are required since seating is limited. There will be complimentary popcorn at the Visitor Center and marshmallows for roasting at Platte River. Please call the National Lakeshore at (231) 326-5134 ext. 328 for reservations and directions.

“The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” will air on CMU Public Television Sunday, September 27 through Friday, October 2 (8:00-10:00 p.m.) along with an encore presentation each evening (10:00 p.m. - midnight). The series is being underwritten by Crofton Creek Press, publisher of Good Harbor Bay by Barry Marsh. At both screenings, Mr. Marsh will read a short excerpt from this novel for young readers. It chronicles one boy's coming of age along the shores of Lake Michigan here in the National Lakeshore. 

For more information, please call the park at 231-326-5134. For more on the PBS series, go to 

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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