Roadside Photography

Riley Creek railroad trestle
Photo courtesy of Herbert Heller (#79-44-1310, UAF Archives), 1929

Denali National Park & Preserve cultural resource staff maintain records and photographs dating back to the early 1900s, when the first naturalists, rangers, and visitors were arriving at the park.  Many of these photos document the development and condition of human infrastructure, such as the McKinley Park Hotel, the sled dog kennel, or the Riley Creek railroad trestle.

Other roadside photographs were taken for the purposes of scientific research.  Visiting researchers in the park will often donate photos and data if they believe it will help the park manage resources.  Longtime Denali researcher and eminent Alaska botanist, Dr. Leslie A. Viereck, donated a set of paired photos taken along the road in 1958 and 2001.  These photo pairs revealed changing treelines in some of the park’s most visited areas such as the Savage River.

people taking photographs
NPS Photo / Kent Miller

Roadside repeat photography is unique in that it features views that any visitor can see as they hike in the park entrance area or travel along the park road.  If you are planning a trip to Denali National Park and Preserve, you too can be a part of the research.  Documenting the date, location, and direction of a photo is all that it takes to capture a moment in time that may provide clues to the trajectory of change at that site.  Click to browse photo pairs by park road segment.

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