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Written Outline

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 7 months ago


The National Park-To-Park Highway





Image: Fresh digital video of various parks (chosen from the best imagery collected on our own P2P tour) carefully juxtaposed with archived images, Ansel-like photographs, news pictures, even paintings stretching far back into the past—it’s a tableau of NPS grandeur, it’s a justification of Roosevelt’s initial setting aside of the parks in the first place.

VO: A speech on Roosevelt and the initial idea of National Parks—why they exist, environmentalism, conservationism—the foresight of setting aside large portions of America for future generations to enjoy.


Transitioning into:


Image: Rapid fire pictures washing over the viewer—we see Mather, Westgard, Images from Lee’s book/the P2P people, their cars and the roads they traversed. Old cars, ancient, near-impassable roads, and the parks as they were when they were first founded. We see images of Westgard in his pathfinding days, we see Mather in his regalia as the first NPS director, perhaps Mather in front of the Congress railing away for more funds, more roads, more exposure, more, more, more . . .

These images give way to images of the American family circa 1919. The doughboys coming home from the war, the broken families trying to heal. Perhaps something from the aftermath of the tragic flu epidemic that swept the country and the world. We try to visually represent the US in the critical transition to dominating world power that was slowly coming about in the wake of the first world war.

Most importantly, we’ll see images of the American family at leisure: the rich on the deck of the Britannia, sailing for Europe; the poor making their way by train, or even wagon to the little getaway in the Catskills they’ve been planning and saving for for years.


VO: Layout the story. Present a thesis statement. This is the story of the first Great American Roadtrip in the way we understand it today. 12 people in 3 cars caravanning out of Denver, on their way to 12 parks, 8 states, and 6000 miles of roads.

Who was Westgard and what did he do? Talk about Road Clubs, AAA and Pathfinding. Lead into the early road conditions, the early cars.

Who was Mather and what did he do? Talk about his early career at Borax, his work at the Dept. of the Interior, his appointment as the first director of the NPS. Discuss his tireless lobbying to make the Parks great and to get them exposed.

Transition by talking about the Yellowstone Highway Association hitting Mather up to build a road connecting the Parks at the 1915 dedication of the RMNP in 1915.

This leads to a discussion of the roads themselves, and how they are a conduit for the American people to actually get out there and experience their own country. This discussion leads into an outline of what Americans—rich and poor—did for recreation, and how Mather and Westgard—both intentionally and unintentionally—were going to change that forver.











Image: The P2P tour is ending, pulling into Denver after 72 days of travel and a final hardship of a blizzard assaulting them in Littleton.

Juxtapose archive images with our own Digital Video of our own caravan pulling back into the city (perhaps a little first person worked into the narrative?). Their journey is over—just as our recreated journey is ended—and the American West will never be the same.

These images slowly morph into archived images and footage of the American highway system rising up from the trails of old. State roads give way to Interstates and we see American families across the decades out in their family cars, roadtripping their way across what was once the great western frontier—the ultimate visual expression of manifest destiny.


VO: It began with Lewis and Clark, evolved into highways like the Lincoln and Jefferson and into the Interstate system we know today—but perhaps the first Great American Roadtrip was the National Park-to-Park Highway Tour. Sure it was a promotional stunt to raise awareness of the parks and to raise money for a highway system that didn’t really come to fruition until the Interstates were begun in the 1950’s, but the trip—along with other iconic adventures on the highways of the early 20th century—served to permanently implant the roadtrip in the American consciousness, and that is perhaps the greatest legacy of AL Westgard, Stephen Mather and the National Park-to-Park Tour of 1920—giving Americans a way to travel and uniquely American destinations for them to travel to.

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