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4 Insights into the National Park Service: Dayton Duncan talks about the 100th Anniversary Celebrations

4 Insights into the National Park Service: Dayton Duncan talks about the 100th Anniversary Celebrations

This year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, which oversees our most treasured lands. We sat down with Dayton Duncan, writer and co-producer of the award-winning PBS series, The National Parks: Americaís Best Idea, created with his longtime friend and colleague, Ken Burns.

Question: What is the most important element of our national parks that inspired your documentary?

Dayton: “I believe that national parks are like the Declaration of Independence of America’s landscape. We have set aside our most magnificent places for the pursuit of happiness.”

Question: Do you have advice on how to create a special, unique memory in a popular park?

Dayton: “In any park, there is no time more glorious than early in the morning to enjoy the scenery and take photographs. Yellowstone National Park is a different place in the wintertime: it’s a powerful experience to watch Old Faithful erupt in winter under a full moon. Fall is a spectacular time to go to Grand Teton National Park because you have fewer crowds and the weather is still mild. The North Rim of the Grand Canyon gets about one-tenth the visitation of the South Rim and, in my opinion, offers an even more scenic view.”

Question: Beyond the icons, are there off-the-radar parks you recommend?

Dayton: “The park system now includes 408 sites — it’s not just the familiar parks, but also nationally treasured seashores, monuments and historic areas. If you expand your view of what a national park is, there’s always something close to you.”

Question: Is there something that brings you back to certain parks, again and again?

Dayton: “Parks are great places to create memories, knowing that you can come back at any point in your life — whether with your spouse, your own kids or grand kids — and your memory of that place will be reawakened.”

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