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bridge photo pair
Photo Credits: Denali NP&P Museum Coll. 21608 (1962), Tamás Szerényi (2010)
Ecoregion: Alaska Range Mountains
Change Type: Human development and impacts
Human development and impacts
This photo pair shows the original bridge over Riley Creek, just before it intersects with the Nenana River. This bridge connected what was then the Denali Highway - connecting Paxson to the then Mt. McKinley National Park. This was the only road route to the park at that time. The current George Parks Highway connecting Anchorage and Fairbanks via this area was in construction but was not completed until 1971. 1962 was a big flood year and both the Riley Creek Bridge (pictured here) and the Riley Creek Railroad Trestle washed out stranding visitors at the McKinley Park Hotel. Of note in this photo pair besides the bridge are the mountain slopes in the background and left of the photos. In 1924 a fire swept through this area burning much of the forest and triggering succession events following fire. The current forest in these burned areas have a much higher proportion of hardwoods (brightly colored aspen in particular) than what was thought to have existed previously. Aspens do well in the high light and nutrient rich conditions present after a canopy opening fire. Can you see the progression of succession following fire 38 and 86 years after?