tv Presidents and National Parks CSPAN November 25, 2016 6:30pm-7:01pm EST
to preserve big chunks of land and historical sights, and certainly through teddy roosevelt and president obama. that is an investment for fumper generations. it's not only an investment in ourselves, protecting history, wilderness and the aesthetic experience but for future generations. and i can say i'm grateful. with are espect to the grand canyon and the bad lands and so many other extraordinary visitors. when they see that, their eyes get big, their jaws drop. they can't believe the expanse and the beauty that is america and that's because of the national park service. >> we talk with members of
congress and historic sights. this is american history tv only on c-span 3. >> 100 years ago 1916, president woodrow wilson created the national park system. the washington monument and national mall is part of that system. this is a uniquely american idea. the ied that the lands belong to the american people and it's their right to visit these pl e places. places such as the statue of liberty, the grand canyon. they are our nation's crown jewels. president obama on a visit to yosemite's water falls said it's almost like the spirit of america itself is here. today 410 sites including 59 national parks, 128 historical
parks, and then national sea shores. last year some 300 million people visited the national park locations. when people think of national parks they usually think of grand national spaces like the ever everglades. the lincoln memorial, the washington monument and even president's park had are all parted of the narrative. >> this mission was literally carved into mt. rush more. the american story is complicated so in the 21st century the national park service is trying to reconcile dueling story lines at many historic sites across the country. this is an example of that effort. it's the park system's most visited historic home.
today visztors to arlington house learn the many story lines from george washington and robert e. lee and the civil war and learn about the enslaved people who lived their lives on the 1100 acre estate and whose legacies live on in their descendants. coming up first we'll hear several presidents talk about the national parks and later we'll hear from the director of the national park service. first, president obama at yosemite national park. >> we have to have the foresight and the faith in the futurer to do what it takes to protect our parks and protect this planet for generations to come and that's especially true for our leaders in washington. it's what lincoln did when he set this aside for post airty. we have to summon that same vision for the future. we've made good strides. we jump started a clean energy
revolution. we're reducing carbon pollution, preserving landscapes. rallying the world to tackle climate change together but we've got to do a lot more and there's such a thing as being too late. the good news is i know we can rise to the challenge. over the last seven years we proved it and if we keep tat, we're going to protect our communities from rising seas and stronger storms and brutal droughts but protect our children's lungs from breathing dirty air, protect vulnerable people from displacement. protect our national security because we won't be seeing refugees displaced because of conflict and scarcity and we'll build on that legacy of all those who came before us, who stood in these parks more than a century ago and talked about an america that lasts through the
ages. i was telling the head of the system here about my first viz toot a big national park in yellow stone. i was 11 years old. i was living in hawaii. so this is first time i'd travelled to the mainland and i came through california and we went to chicago. arizona and then ended in yellowstone national park and i remember being an 11-year-old kid, the first time i saw a moose in a lake. the first time we drove over a hel and suddenly there was a field full of deer. the first time i saw a bear and her cub. that changes you. you're not the same after that. and i want to make sure every
kid feels that. studies have shown that just five minutes of time in a green open space brings your stress levels down. makes your heart beat go down, your whole body feel better. makes your spirit stronger and cleaner. we got kids all across this country who never see a park. there are kids who live miles from here who have never seen this. we got to change that. because the beauty of the national park system is it belongs to everybody. it is a true expression of our democracy. the notion that we all look after ourselves and our fam aelgs and we work hard and make money and we have our own homes and apartments and cars and
televisions. but then there's this part of us that is part of everybody. stheng something we have in common. something we share. a place where we connect with each other and to something bigger than ourselves. what an incredible idea. what a worthy investment. what a precious thing we have to pass on to the next generation. let's make that happen. >> it's fitting that on labor day we meet beside the harbors, the waters i should say of new york harbor with the eyes of ms. libber erliberty on our gat. through this golden door under gaze of that mother of exiles has come millions of men and
women who first set foot on american soil right there on ellis island so close to the statue of liberty. these families came here to work. they came to build. others came to america in different ways from other lands in different and often harrowing conditions. but this place, symbolizes what they all managed to build no matter where they came from or how they came or how much they suffered. they helped to build that magnificent city across the river. they spread across the land building other cities and other towns and incredibly productive farms. they came to make america work. they didn't ask what this country could do for them but what they they could do to make this refuge the greatest home of freedom in history.
they brought with them curage, ambition, and the values of family, neighborhood, work, peace, and freedom. we all came from different lands but we share the same values, the same dream. i want more than anything i've ever wanted to have an administration that will through its actions at home and in the international arena let millions know that ms. liberty still lifts her lamp beside the golden door. through our international broadcasting stations, let us send loud and clear that this
generation of americans intends to keep that lamp shining. that this dream, that this dream the last best hope of man on earth, this nation under god shall not perish from the earth. we will instead carry on the building of an american economy that once again holds forth real opportunity for all. we shall continue to be a symbol of freedom and guardian of the eternal values that so inspired those who came to this port of intry. let us pledge to each other with this great lady looking on that we can and so help us god, we will make america great again. thank you very much.
convention center. here are some of the remarks he made at las vegas and at other places on his tour. [ applause ] >> i came in this trip to see the united states. and i can assure you there's nothing more encouraging. for any of us who work in washington and have a chance to fly across this united states and drive through it and see what a great country it is. and come to understand somewhat better how this country has been able for so many years to carry so many burdens in so many parts of the world. primary reason for my trip was co conservation and i include first our human resources and then our natural resources.
do you know how much of the atlantic coast is available for public use? about 8%. 92% of whole atlantic coast and the same for the pacific are held in the most part by a comparatively few people and unless we now before it's too late, take these areas that offer the maximum of recreation, unless we set them aside now, it will be too late. there's not much you can do today that wilmaterialy alter your life but you can build for the future. you can build as those who went ahead of us built for us in this great dam and lake that i flew over today. our task, the task of propelling a third way of kaunconservation the united states following
theater roosevelt and franklin roosevelt is to make science that of conservation and enable us to preserve this green environment. which means so much to all of us. [ applause ] >> teddy roosevelt, when he first arrived in california as part of his big nine-week tour was fairly subdued because he came in through the desert. through bairstow and hit redlands. he enjoyed the welcome he got but it wasn't until he got to the coast, he got amazed. first time he saw the pacific ocean, he was in awe. and in yosemite, that's when he really understands what this undertaking is and what the trip is all about and he's totally dazled. writes letters, all these things
to sum up what his feelings were. for him, getting away from politics and arriving in nature, the cradle of nature, that's really when he first understood the beauty and majesty of california. roosevelt becomes president in 1901 when mckinley is assassinated. there's an election in 1904. so never having been to the west coast i think he took it as an opportunity to shore up votes and push his agenda and all that but beyond that, in march of that year, months before the trip, he writes john muir and go to on a trip, just him. he also had an opportunity to forge this friendship with a man he was a fan of he's kbbeen arod
a while. he's well known. roosevelt, i think used a trip to bond on this camping trip that was to take place. as much as he wrote about yosemite and other similar areas. he was seeing. it doesn't get you all out of the woods but it was a start. when roosevelt first reached out to muir, muir was going to be in europe and changed his trip because i think he knew this was an opportunity to address the concerns going on, especially with commercial logging in the area. muir saw that coming and seized upon the opportunity, changed his trip, didn't go to europe and met with roosevelt instead. it was a select few, four men.
teddy roosevelt, john muir and two guide/cooks named charley leitig and archie leonard. there was no press, no nothing. and as a result, a lot of the memories come from those two guys who would sort of hall all the gear, plot the course. because it was rugged camping. this was back country camping and they'd prepare the food and all that. but they paid very close attention and were able to observe in the background and get a sense of what the powerful sense of what was happening. i think the observation of the two guides are interesting because as they recounted it later in memoirs, they saw it as being a struggle of two egos. two very powerful, accomplished men that had to find common ground to begin with.
night two, one of the guys observed muir getting in roosevelt's face about his trophy hunting and sport hunting. heed ed ad monished roosevelt a said you got to get over these li little boy habits of having to kill. and only night two. he hasn't known this guy 48 hours and he has muir telling him he has to give up a real passion of his and he's open to it. it illustrates the trust roosevelt was giving muir in a short stand and that stands out as something monumental. it alters his view of the natural world. all the sudden he wasn't going to hunt just to hunt and clearly he was giving muir the ability to effect his point of view.
they camped in three different spots. night one was at the mariposa grove. and a fairly simple camping experience. night two they go up on horse back to glacier point, five feet of snow in some cases. here's the president of the united states riding horse back with john muir completely avoiding the press or guests that wanted to get a glimpse of him. so night two is the challenge getting him to glacier point and camping without a tent. it snows five or six inches overnight. and it's an interesting night for those men and rugged and pure. and i think this is the night they really bonded specially over the fire because of what the weather was doing, it pushed them closer together. night three it was more like night one.
they camped in a place called bridal veil fall in the shadow of a beautiful water fall and that was a chance to talk about the night before and how crazy it as a lobbiest of sorts, he knows that he has the leer of the free world fall to his own and he takes good advantage of those tuntss. about why these forts need protecting and why it's not just enough to love nature, but when you have the power to do so, it's important to preserve it as well. conservative vegas was something roosevelt thought of to a small degree, but i think it required a catalyst like john muir to step in and help him get fired up. let alone yosemite.
they didn't have something like muir to make it a riveting target. we need to do this, this and this. the next speech, talking about yosemite so he's already, within day of this meeting, he's really impassion impassioned and he goes back. it's soon after, within a year or two, we're see iing the national landmarks and things like that. that's a process that goes on and he was formidable an het letts it be known he wants these things done. t-a result of the trip when he
comes back that he's got hundred of things being signed and a pushback. i think people understood he was walking like he talked it and with john muir and the background, these were men who were serious about this, so there was no getting in their way. up next, an interview with the director of the national park's service, jonathan jarvis, about the nation's centennial. >> director jarvis, how is the national parks service in 2016 different than 1916? >> a lot of things have changed in the last 100 years. in 1916, anything in our inventory that represented a culture memory of the united states, so in a very famous story fdr was coming back from a trip over to shenandoah and the director, albright, transferring
all of the civil war battle sights to the time they were management department and that really began the responsibility of the parks service to tell america's story through historic sites an since that time, we've added a significant number of of places that represent america. >> about two third of the parks service sites are of historical nature, so how do you balance your responsibility to history as well as places like yosemite or yellow stone? >> they have a story to be told. the national parks service, we tell story through place. we have the smithsonian, but we have the physical where history was made. now, in natural location like yosemite, you can u tell the story of wildlife or climate
change, but in gettysburg, not only the physical activity of the civil war, fwu meaning behind it such as the release and freedom of 4 million africans became african-american citizens. >> what would you say has been the most important change in the parks service in the last 50 year sns. >> i think that one part we haven't changed that much. we still have our strong mission orientation to the american people and that's been a strong continue nugs, but i think broadening the story, trying to fill in the gaps in the american experience, if it's not one narrative, it's multiple and i think the strong scholarship -- >> has technology -- technology in the national park, but
actually i'm a proponent. i believe that technology sort of deepens the experience and certainly, the private sector has stepped up with application, google map, other kinds of things. i think it allows us to provide the content the parks service has in a new way, we're sort of content rich. and so, you can go much deeper and i think with the millennial generation, they're going to bring their smart foeps and devices with them and there's a certain expectation they can utilize them. probably not in the bottom of the grand canyon, but certainly on the south rim. >> what would you say is the next greatest challenge of the next 50 years? >> i think it's climate change. i think it's directly affecting the the resources upon which we manage. whether it's glaciers disappe disappearing from glacier national park or fires burning a month longer or species moving. places like ft. jefferson and dry tortuga sits right at sea
lefl and that's going to be hard to maintain, so we're going to have to make some triage decisions about what we keep and let go. >> david rubenstein has given millions of dollars recently to the national parks service, including to thelingen memorial, where we're standing today. what is the role of private benefactors as we go forwoord? >> private philanthropy has always been a part. big parts of grand teton and his family. large sections of the virgin islands. there's a long tradition of those who have done well in the merion economy and they want to give back. philanthropy can never replace to cover the basic national parks service, but it gives us a moment of excellence. a bright line of what we
couldn't do. >> you've talked about the national parks service as being the nation's story teller. what do you mean by that? >> well, i think it's an inhempbt responsibility of the national parks service to remind americans of our responsibilities to each other. and to this nation. when you think about the places that we have a responsibility to not only protect, but interpret the statue of liberty, ebenezer baptist church, the washington monument, these are not only physical place, they are ideas and they're embedded in the instituti constitution, in the civil rights movement. our job is to tell that story in a nonjudge mental way as a reminder to all americans that we have high ideals as this nation and we are striving to get there. >> is there a new emphasis on telling difficult stories in the parks and how does that connect to building an audience? >> we've sort of assessed the
inventory of places the national parks servicemanages. also, inventory. and there are very large gaps. there are gaps in the country of women and of minorities to this country. so, we have launch an initiative to fill in those gaps so we've commissioned some scholarly studied on asian american fick islanders, lgbtq as well. we have going out and finding those places and adding them to the system. harriet tubman. all of these build relevancy so our american citizens feel hike their story, their experience, is being told by the national parked service. >> how does it fit into your in addition.
>> in particular, the lgbt community was clearly discriminated against and the place where there was a turning noint the gay rights movement in greenwich village, so we began working with the city and community to understand how we could tell that story and what place really is the place to do it. the stonewall in, christopher street, that area where there was a police raid on this bar. a mob-run bar in the 1960s resulted in a pushback by the gay community. the events of stonewall in wasn't specifically for for the gay community. lbgtq community rit large. that was a major turning point in the way we recognize this community's civil rights in this nation and it spread across the country, so it is the place that national parks service should be interpreting this story. >> you started out as an
ininterpretertive ranger in 1976, our bisenn ten yal year. >> right here. i was at the information center and that winter, i worked at the jefferson. >> last question for you. do you have a favorite national park site? >> with 2, i love all my children. >> thank you very much. >> thank you very much. you're look at a live picture of arlington house, the robert e. lee memorial in arlington national cemetery. this is the national park's service most visited home and it was on this day in 1916 that president wilson signed the legislation that created the