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Yellowstone in 1871 and today

Do Not UseDo Not Use 25/05/2016
Yellowstone photographed in 2016 © Getty Images Yellowstone photographed in 2016

After 140 years, the boulders, canyons and geysers of Yellowstone National Park appear to be no worse for wear, according to newly released images.

The Fishing Bridge in 1871 and 2012 © AP The Fishing Bridge in 1871 and 2012

Photographer William Henry Jackson photographed the Wyoming-based park in 1871, the year before Congress made Yellowstone the first national park in the world.

Yellowstone National Park in 1871 © AP Yellowstone National Park in 1871

More than a century later, photographer Brad Boner set out to replicate Jackson's black-and-white photographs.

Yellowstone photographed in 2013: Yellowstone pictured in 2013 © AP Yellowstone pictured in 2013

Some of his pictures will be displayed next to Jackson's this summer at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Bears in the park: The wildlife is better managed now, says Mr Quammen © Getty Images The wildlife is better managed now, says Mr Quammen

The top picture on this page, The Fishing Bridge, suggests the only change in those 14 decades is a man-made one - the bridge itself, says David Quammen, a contributing writer for National Geographic who wrote the magazine's May 2016 issue on Yellowstone,.

The Grotto Geyser in 1871: The Grotto Geyser as pictured in 1871 © AP The Grotto Geyser as pictured in 1871

That is because the geological features of Yellowstone - the rocks and the geysers and the landscape - are still very much the same, he adds.

The Grotto Geyser pictured in 2013: The Grotto Geyser pictured in 2012 © AP The Grotto Geyser pictured in 2012

What has changed is the way people have populated and developed the park in that time, he says, and the photographs do not tell the whole story.

Minerva Terrace in 1871: Minerva Terrace pictured in 1871 © AP Minerva Terrace pictured in 1871

Most people do not realise Yellowstone began as a tourist attraction and only later became a wildlife refuge, he says.

Minerva Terrace pictured in 2013 © AP Minerva Terrace pictured in 2013

"Yellowstone has changed vastly - in some ways for better, in some ways for the worse," says Mr Quammen. "Those changes mostly involve ecological changes."

Animal populations have prospered, he says, with more wolves in the park now than at the time when Jackson took his camera and headed off on that expedition.

As the park has become an increasingly popular tourist destination, there have been huge changes in infrastructure, says Mr Quammen, like the bridge, roads, hotels and tourist shops.

But he thinks the people who now run the park are sensitive to the fact that as visitor numbers increase, the scenic resources are put under strain.

Limits will have to be placed on how many people can visit, he says. Last year, four million people came to Yellowstone.

"The real changes in Yellowstone are off-screen - it has become a wildlife refuge, and it is filled with people in cars and hotels, and these photos don't show that," he says.

Mr Boner has been talking about his techniques. He says he walked around the park holding his photos up to the horizon, in order to replicate Jackson.

"The whole point of creating Yellowstone was to give future generations an opportunity to experience these special places," he told the AP news agency.

"When I look at these pictures, I take a great deal of comfort in knowing that my kids are going to be able to go to a lot of these places and see the same thing."

Things would just "click and fall into place" when he was trying to find the right frame, he says.

"All of a sudden, you're looking at the landscape that is in the photograph that I was holding, that Jackson took. There were definitely times I got goose bumps."

Reporting by Ashley Gold

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