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Repeat photography of Canyonlands National Park, Utah, 1965 and 2015

Detailed Description

The first image in this repeat photographic series was taken in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, in 1965 by Bates Wilson, Canyonlands National Park, National Park Service, and shows a group of packhorses and several vehicles on Salt Creek just upstream from Peekaboo Arch. Taken at the time that Canyonlands was established as a National Park, it shows a wide channel with flanking narrow, high floodplains and terraces resulting from rockfall and wind-borne sand distribution under the bedrock walls. Most of the vegetation in the channel consists of cottonwood trees and desert-adapted shrubs, although a large Gambel oak is present under the shadowed cliff at middle right.

The later photograph taken in 2015 by Dr. Robert Webb, USGS, shows that channel narrowing and new establishment of cottonwood trees have completely changed the center of this view, which, combined with the clear downcutting effects of recent flooding (note rock exposure in the channel at center), has erased any trace of the former road. Among the new shrub species present, coyote willow and salt bush are perhaps most common. The cottonwoods and Gambel oak established before 1965 remain alive. The USGS and NPS collect and evaluate historic repeat photos for long-term vegetation change. Stake (camera point) s6607. ​​​​​


Public Domain.