Historical Landscape Change in Yellowstone National Park: Demonstrating the Value of Intensive Field Observation and Repeat Photography


Although transportation and outdoor recreation are well‐recognized aspects of national parks, few studies have explored these aspects from the perspective of human geography as a means of analyzing historical landscape change. This paper offers an innovative synthesis of methods for studying cultural landscape change over time through a case study of the historical geography of transportation, tourism, and outdoor recreation along the Howard Eaton Trail () in Yellowstone National Park. We conducted research through a field course that combined repeat photography, archival research, Geographic Information Systems (), and traditional field methods. Results indicate that a combination of repeat photography and other methods can create an effective means of evaluating cultural landscape change; even short field courses provide opportunities for students and faculty to conduct collaborative research that provides powerful, multidimensional, situated‐learning experiences; and repeat photography creates datasets that may benefit future research and teaching.

Document Type





fieldwork, landscape, repeat photography, Yellowstone National Park

Publication Date


Journal Title

Geographical Review