Human Development and Impacts

Since the establishment of Mount McKinley National Park in 1917 (designated and expanded as Denali National Park and Preserve in 1980), there has been considerable development of human infrastructure to accommodate visitation and management needs. Simultaneously, establishment of the park has led to growth in surrounding communities as businessmen and women seek to capitalize on park-generated tourism. Over time, infrastructure has been expanded and renovated both in the park and in surrounding areas to accommodate the increasing demands generated by public desire to visit Denali.

While browsing photo pairs, consider that although infrastructure development has allowed for increased visitor use and stimulated economic development, it has resulted in the conversion of wild lands to human-influenced landscapes. Can you think of alternatives to the development you see in the photo pairs? Do you think the people pictured in some of the early photos could have ever envisioned the scene that appears in the later photos? In some cases, such as with bridge building, materials and technology limitations probably restricted thought of what was possible. While in other cases, thanks to the work of conservationists, the landscape remains largely the same as it was first experienced.