"Noting that the original impetus for establishing national parks came from naturalists like John Muir who were horrified to see how Niagara Falls was nearly destroyed by the greed and hucksterism of free market-loving charlatans, Poniewozik writes: 'With America frothing over the role of government - Should it save banks? Should it expand health coverage? - The National Parks makes a simple case for an idea that is wildly controversial in the year of the tea party: That we need government to do things the private sector can't or won't.'
"In other words, the entire origin of the national park system, whose most passionate backer was a Republican, Teddy Roosevelt, is based on a firm belief in - Glenn Beck, cover your ears, please - government intervention to regulate an out-of-control free-enterprise system. In fact, one of the more dramatic moments in Burns' documentary involves the battle to create a park in the Great Smoky Mountains, while logging companies bankrolled anti-park ads and were 'frantically cutting the old-growth forests to extract everything they could before the land was closed to them.'"