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arch photo pair
Photo Credits: Lingo Collection (Denali NP&P Museum) (1929), Tamás Szerényi (2010)
Ecoregion: Alaska Range Mountains
Change Type: Changing treelines
Changing treelines
This photo pair features an area of the Denali Front country. The gateway arch was built in 1926 by the Alaska Railroad to welcome visitors to what was then called Mt. McKinley National Park (though at the time, the park boundary was still 3 miles away). By 2010, more than 80 years later, many changes had taken place in the Denali Front country. Changes captured by this photo pair include the disassembly of the gateway arch and realignment of the main road into the park (which underwent a boundary and name change in 1980 to Denali National Park and Preserve, now including the area where the arch was built). Perhaps the most conspicuous change in this photo pair however is the dramatic increase in tree growth, both spruce and deciduous shrubs and trees. In the late 1920s, the only way to get materials to this remote area was by train, and construction was occurring on the railroad and railroad depot, park headquarters, a school, and Morinos Roadhouse - all being built with wood. So although it is likely that the forest of the 1920s was not quite as thick as it is now, the sparse landscape featured in the 1920s photo is certainly a result of logging pressures of the time.