The Boundary Hunters: Surveying the 141st Meridian and the Alaska Panhandle

By Lewis Green | Go to book overview

Afterword

On land, the Alaska boundary was quickly accepted once it was marked on the ground. Despite some loose talk, it has never been seriously challenged, even at the height of the Klondike Rush. In the years since then some of the freedom of the north has been lost as each country tightened control of people and freight moving across its boundaries. In World War II some of this control was set aside as United States soldiers and equipment were rushed to northern British Columbia and the Yukon to work on the Alaska Highway. In a way it resembled the Klondike Rush, complete to entrepreneurs conniving to smuggle liquor to thirsty highway builders.

The water boundary along Line A-B in Dixon Entrance is a different matter. The United States is still unwilling to admit they have no rights south of it, and, occasionally, the United States Coastguard has seized Canadian vessels that have ventured within three miles of the islands to the north of the line. 1 Canada, in turn, has protested the incidents, but the main issue remains unresolved. At Cape Muzon two concrete monuments reference Point A; placed there in 1913 by a Canadian party with a United States representative. 2 Some official United States maps simply do not show the offending section of the boundary while others do but with the notation (Approximate Boundary), whatever that may imply. Lord Alverstone, who endured so much trying for a complete settlement, would not be amused.

Since 1925, the Alaska Boundary has been maintained under a treaty between United States and Canada. 3 From time to time, new monuments have been set, others repaired or replaced, and sections of the vista re-opened to the full twenty-foot width. In recent years, helicopters, radio communication, power tools and newly developed surveying instruments have all made fieldwork easier, but even yet, many of the old skills are still required. One new approach that failed was an attempt to clear the vista using defoliants sprayed from a helicopter.

-177-

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The Boundary Hunters: Surveying the 141st Meridian and the Alaska Panhandle
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Photographic Credits viii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • Preliminary Note xiii
  • Foreword xv
  • 1 - Britain and Russia Establish Their Boundary (1825-67) 1
  • 2 - Canada and United States Mark the 141st Meridian (1869-96) 7
  • 3 - Staking a Claim to the Panhandle (1876-96) 46
  • 4 - The Klondike Rush and Temporary Boundaries (1896-1903) 65
  • 5 - Forced Settlement: The Alaska Boundary Tribunal (1903) 79
  • 6 - Marking the Panhandle Boundary (1904-1920) 95
  • 7 - The 141st Meridian: A Single Straight Line (1906-13) 143
  • Afterword 177
  • Appendix 179
  • Notes 185
  • Bibliographical Note 199
  • Selected Bibliography 201
  • Abbreviations 206
  • Index 207
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