How Have National Parks Changed Over Time?

Viewing photographs of different eras in the national parks can give many insights on ecosystem processes, as well as simply change over time. The photographs associated with panoramic lookout photographs provide a window on the past, and an opportunity to compare to the present with changes to land forms and land cover.

Change Over Time

Get started and see how many differences you can find!

Move the slider to view change over time for a sampling of images from Yellowstone and Glacier national parks taken by Lester Moe in the 1930s and Ian Grob of the US Forest Service from 2007 to 2009. Each image notes location, view, and film type.

The photos in this series are from slightly different angles and thus some aspects do not line up perfectly. Lester Moe climbed to the top of most lookout towers when he was taking the original photos. Unfortunately, most of the lookout towers that Moe climbed no longer exist, have been replaced, or just have foundations left. The team that took “retake” images from 2005 to 2009 had to make adjustments based on this reality.

Glacier National Park

Map of Glacier National Park with lookout locations noted. Huckleberry Lookout. Looking Glass Overlook. Apgar Lookout. Divide Lookout.