Articles by John Hoechst, PLS

Surveying on the Fast Track

By John Hoechst, PLS
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At roughly 3,000 square miles in total and rising to its highest height at 12,799 ft above sea level, the Beartooth Mountains in Montana are among the largest landmasses in North America. The Beartooth Plateau is located on the Montana/Wyoming state line near the northwest corner of Wyoming, just east of the renowned Yellowstone National Park. In August 1882, Lt. General Phillip H. Sheridan and 120 men guided by an old hunter simply known as "Geer" pioneered the first organized and recorded trip across the Beartooth Plateau. While the trek was admirable and provided a usable trail, travelers were not satisfied with the steep and difficult path. In the early 1920s, the Forest Service and Bureau of Public Roads (known today as the Federal Highway Administration) performed reconnaissance surveys to determine the feasibility of constructing a new trail across the plateau. Subsequently, President Herbert Hoover signed a bill in 1931 authorizing funding to build one of Montana's most impressive structures: the Beartooth Highway.
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