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AZ’s Grand Canyon Stars in Latest Ken Burns Public TV Special

August 31, 2009

PHOENIX - Arizona's Grand Canyon is prominently featured in the latest public TV production from master filmmaker Ken Burns, called "The National Parks: America's Best Idea." Writer and producer Dayton Duncan says the six-part, 12-hour series focuses on the history and natural beauty of the nation's 58 natural national parks.

"It's not a nature film per se, though the story of how nature plays into the role of national parks is part of our story. It's not a travelogue per se, with just pretty pictures of places. But it does have the best cinematography we think we've ever compiled."

"The National Parks" will air on the Phoenix and Tucson public TV stations starting September 27th.

Duncan says the inspiration for the series came 11 years ago when he took his young family on a national parks vacation, which brought back memories of a similar trip when he was a child. Duncan says it took him less than a minute to convince Ken Burns to tackle the project.

"Our story is about this uniquely American idea that the most magnificent and sacred places in our nation should be set aside and preserved not for the exclusive enjoyment of the rich, the powerful or royalty, but for everyone."

Kevin Dahl of the National Parks Conservation Association especially likes one story in the series, about the beginnings of Grand Canyon's most popular trail.

"Bright Angel Trail was privately owned by a miner who charged people back then a dollar a person to hike down the trail. He was really upset when it became a national park because he lost that source of revenue, and he went on to get involved in politics and was a thorn in the side of the national parks for years to come."

Previous Dayton Duncan-Ken Burns collaborations include "The Civil War," "Baseball," and "Jazz."

Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ