Whether they're masquerading as alien planets in sci-fi films or starring as heavily romanticized versions of themselves in thrillers and dramas, the units of the U.S. National Park Service — as of 2011, there were 397 of them — have long held an illustrious role in American cinema, providing awe-inspiring, super-dramatic backdrops that even the most advanced CGI technology and the most elaborate soundstages in the world simply can’t replicate.

Read the whole story at Mother Nature Network