The National Parks: America's Best Idea is the story of an idea as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence, and just as radical: that the most special places in the nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone.
In Utah, there was a law firm that understood this philosophy better than most and served a vital role in the creation of at least one of these national parks. Fabian & Clendenin played a crucial role in the decades-long struggle to create Grand Teton National Park. John D. Rockefeller, Jr., hired Harold Fabian to acquire all of the land that eventually became Grand Teton National Park.
To prevent sellers from unreasonably raising prices or stonewalling the efforts, the Rockefeller name was never used. Instead, Fabian formed the Snake River Land Company to be the buyer. In fact, Harold Fabian himself did not initially know that Mr. Rockefeller was providing the financial backing. Creation of the park occupied Harold Fabian for two and a half decades before becoming a reality.
Because of Fabian's successful work with the Rockefellers on Teton National Park, he was sought after for various local, state, regional and national recreational and conservation projects and boards. He was appointed the first head of the Utah Parks Commission and helped create and develop many of the state and local parks we enjoy today.
Fabian's love of parks is evident in the efforts he made to make Sugar House Park here in Salt Lake City a reality. In 1957, Harold Fabian was named president of the newly formed Sugar House Park Authority Board and served in this capacity until his death in 1975. Under Fabian's leadership, the board began development of the new park that once served as the site of the Utah State Prison. Fabian directed the board to begin development of the new park, building many of the structures that still exist today. The Park (www.sugarhousepark.org) has been operated and maintained for more than 50 years by an independent, non-profit organization, run by volunteer board members who have shared the mission of preserving precious urban greenspace. This mission has been fulfilled by a succession of SHPA board members, as evidenced by the largely unaltered landscape of the Park.
As plans were formulated to introduce The National Parks: America's Best Idea, the law firm of Fabian & Clendenin wanted to find a way to share the story of Sugar House Park, while helping others to enjoy the premiere of such an historical series on America's national parks. Through a partnership with KUED Public Television, the two entities are bringing the first episode of the series to a large screen on Sunday, September 27, 6:30 p.m., where a free public screening will make it possible for families to come to Sugar House Park, with chairs and picnics in tow, to enjoy a wonderful evening of reflection on just how these beautiful parks enhance our lives.
Filmed over the course of more than six years in some of nature's most spectacular locales -from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, Florida's Everglades to Utah's Arches - the 12-hour series is also a story of people from every walk of life - rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; idealists, artists and entrepreneurs; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving precious portions of the land they loved. It's the story of struggle and conflict, high ideals and crass opportunism, adventure and inspiration - set against breathtaking landscapes.
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