Beartooth Highway Receives Prestigious National Register Listing

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior

Yellowstone National Park
P.O. Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 20, 2014 14-040

Al Nash or Dan Hottle
(307) 344-2015
YELL_Public_Affairs@nps.gov

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NEWS RELEASE
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Beartooth Highway Receives Prestigious National Register Listing

The Beartooth Highway, often considered one of the most spectacular drives in the country, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on May 8, 2014.

Sixty miles of the 68-mile winding and twisting US-212 highway linking Red Lodge, Montana, with the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana, and the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park was officially named the Red Lodge – Cooke City Approach Road Historic District.

The scenic highway is nationally significant as an example of road construction which substantially increased recreational development and tourism in Yellowstone and the region. The road is also nationally significant for its distinctive engineering and the methods of high-altitude road construction used in its construction. It is the highest elevation highway in Wyoming (10,947 feet) and Montana (10,350 feet).

In 1932, President Herbert Hoover withdrew the Beartooth Highway corridor from settlement and sale, and reserved it as an approach road to Yellowstone National Park. Construction funds from the newly passed National Park Approaches Act, which became law in 1931, were used to build the road.

The Beartooth Highway National Register Nomination was completed by Yellowstone staff as a cooperative effort through a Memorandum of Agreement among the Federal Highway Administration, the Wyoming and Montana State Historic Preservation Offices, the United States Forest Service and the National Park Service.

The National Register is the nation’s official list of historic places worthy of preservation. The listing will allow the agencies who manage the road to account for its historic characteristics when planning upgrades and maintenance projects.

– www.nps.gov/yell –

 

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Did You Know?

Fishing Beartooth Highway

The cutthroat is the only true western native trout. Originally wide spread throughout the state, it is now relegated to the higher, cooler, more inaccessible back country lakes and streams. Cutthroats are easily identified by the bright red “cut” on the lower jaw.

Clay Butte Lookout - Beartooth Highway

The Clay Butte Lookout was built in 1942 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and was used as a fire lookout. It was staffed until the 1960s, when aircraft proved a better tool for fire detection. Today, because of its popular scenic vantage point and proximity to the Beartooth Highway, Clay Butte is used as a visitor information site. It was remodeled in 1962 and has been staffed since 1975 by volunteers. The focus of Clay Butte today is to give visitors a glimpse of how fire lookouts functioned 60 years ago. Sightseers driving the scenic byway stop to obtain information or take in the view, which includes wildlife, botanical areas, the effects of the Clover-Mist wildfire of 1988, and the geology of ancient seas that once covered the Beartooth Plateau.