PBS is airing a series called "The National Parks" by Ken Burns beginning on September 27th. You can view some excerpts on pbs.org. I have realized that these parks have been preserved for all of us, the citizens of this country through the efforts of some brave explorers, wealthy benefactors and a few Presidents who thought about the future generations benefits of seeing some large portions of our nation in the state they have been in for thousands of years.
Here is an excerpt from PBS about the series:
"Filmed over the course of more than six years at some of nature's most spectacular locales — from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska — The National Parks: America's Best Idea is nonetheless a story of people: people from every conceivable background — rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; idealists, artists and entrepreneurs; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving some precious portion of the land they loved, and in doing so reminded their fellow citizens of the full meaning of democracy. It is a story full of struggle and conflict, high ideals and crass opportunism, stirring adventure and enduring inspiration - set against the most breathtaking backdrops imaginable." ( source - http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/ )
I realize that visiting some of these amazing natural wonders should have a high priority on my list of "must do's".