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Hawaii volcanoes featured in new Ken Burns National Parks documentary series

Hawaii_volcanoes_Ken_Burns_National_Parks_HaleakalaHawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and Haleakala National Park on Maui both figure prominently in director Ken Burns’ latest super-documentary The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

The 6-part, 12-hour documentary series on the grand, arduous and often contentious history of America’s national park system premieres on PBS, Sept. 27, with episodes airing nightly until Oct. 2.

National Parks
narrative begins with the mid-1800s beginnings of the national park idea, charting the evolution of the national park system over 150 years to 1980. The series first episode, "The Scripture of Nature (1851-1890)" digs into Hawaii's parks right away, opening with crisp footage of glowing Kilauea volcano lava flows entering the sea off the Puna coastline just before sunrise.

But a segment in the series’ third episode, “The Empire of Grandeur (1915-1919),” goes deeper into our state's national park history, revealing the decade of lobbying by naturalists, scientists, businessmen and others to designate acreage on Kilauea, Mauna Loa and Haleakala volcanoes as Hawaii National Park.

The massive park on Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii—later divided into two separate national parks—finally got its national park title on Aug. 1, 1916. Still, even its brand new title couldn't win Hawaii National Park any immediate respect. According to National Parks, Congress initially refused to provide any funding for Hawaii National Park because, as one senator explained, “It should not cost anything to run a volcano.”

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
Hawaii National Parks waiving entrance fees for nine days beginning April 17
Free admission at all Hawaii national parks for nine days, starting tomorrow
Entrance fees to be waived at three Hawaii national park sites for five days next week

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