R&M Through the Years: Native Allotment Cadastral Surveys

July 17, 2019

In celebration of R&M’s 50th anniversary, we are taking a look back at the projects over the last five decades that made R&M into the firm it is today. This month we take a look at numerous Native Allotment Cadastral Surveys R&M completed for the Bureau of Land Management

The Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), signed into law in 1971, was intended to resolve long-standing issues surrounding Native land claims in Alaska, as well as to stimulate economic development throughout the state. The settlement established Alaska Native claims to the land by transferring titles from the Federal Government to twelve Alaska Native Regional Corporations and more than 200 local village corporations. The State of Alaska was also entitled to a portion of those Federal lands due to provisions in the Alaska Statehood Act.

The effort to subdivide affected land and transfer ownership lasted decades. In 1990, as part of this effort, R&M conducted cadastral surveying and mapping for numerous lots for the Bureau of Land Management, which managed the public lands in question.

R&M surveyed 63 Native allotment lots along the Yukon River near the village of Beaver and 120 Native allotment lots along the Kuskokwim, Stony and Holitna Rivers near Fort Yukon. The firm conducted field surveying, geodetic control, monumentation and platting.

Both areas were unique in the remoteness of the survey locations. For Beaver, the survey crews had to use a float-equipped aircraft, boats, truck and all-terrain vehicles to access the survey sites. R&M set approximately 246 monuments with scribed bearing trees and accessory monuments.

In the Fort Yukon area, the survey crews used a helicopter, a Cessna 185 floatplane, boats and truck to access the survey sites. They established 517 final monuments and approximately 1,000 scribed bearing trees at the corner positions. R&M prepared 83 U.S. Survey Plats and 27 sets of typed field notes for the final products.

Next month, we will take a look at a major bridge reconstruction along the Seward Highway designed by R&M during this same decade.