“It is not what we have that will make us a great nation; it is the way in which we use it." - Theodore Roosevelt
This 5-minute short film presents the history of the creation of national parks and the National Park Service in the United States. In particular through the creation of Yellowstone National Park, a world first, thanks to key public figures such as the President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt, a famous conservationist John Muir, and the parliamentarian John Conness, who allowed the creation of mythical parks in national and international influence among which: Yosemite, Arches, Glacier, Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, Sequoia, General Grant, and many others.
Elyse Cox, with whom we worked to illustrate her screenplay, explains how Native Americans were expropriated from their land by white settlers, and the political and logistical complexity associated with managing the parks.
Despite continual abuse on Amerindian lands - and we are thinking in particular to #StandingRock - they are increasingly involved in the management of parks. Their ancestral knowledge is of great use in the preservation of the flora and fauna of these national parks. Sadly, history cannot be changed and the injustices of the past will always leave a tragic mark in the history of the United States. Let us continue to recognize this heritage.
That said, white colonialism is not unique to the United States, and Elyse Cox describes a global trend to include local people in the management of national parks.
One of the main challenges of the National Park Service today is to find the right balance between visitors' access to these incredible places, while preserving them. It takes the example of Mu Ko Similan Park in Thailand, which occasionally closes entire sections of the park to allow it to regenerate after the degradation linked to the excessive use of mass tourism.
We hope you enjoyed this immersive journey through history and the wilderness of these incredible landscapes.
To find out more about TED-Ed, visit :
To find out more information about the national parks history :
To find out more about the National Park Service :
Educator | Elyse Cox
Director | Rémi Cans
Narrator | Alexandra Panzer
Art Director & Storyboard | Rémi Cans
Animator | Sergi Ros
Composer | Inés Mirás Vieites
Sound Designer | Xosé Antonio Rodríguez Álvarez
Director of Production | Gerta Xhelo
Editorial Director | Alex Rosenthal
Producer | Bethany Cutmore-Scott
Editorial Producer | Elizabeth Cox
Executive Creative Director | Logan Smalley