National Parks: America's Best Idea
"The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)"
In 1851, word spreads of a beautiful area of California's Yosemite Valley that is attracting people who would exploit its scenery for commercial gain and those who wish to preserve it. Scottish-born John Muir champions protection. In 1864, Congress passes an act to reserve it for "public use, resort and recreation" and hands control to the state of California. Meanwhile in Wyoming territory, visitors are attracted to a landscape of geysers, mud pots and sulfur pits. Congress protects this land in 1872. But because it is in a territory, Yellowstone becomes America's first national park. Part 1 of 6G