Filed Under Red Lodge

Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association

The remarkable geologic diversity and the age of rock formations in the Beartooth Mountains and Bighorn Basin fascinated Princeton University geology professors William Taylor Thom Jr. and Richard Field. In 1930, they founded the “Red Lodge Project” to conduct geological research and train students in field methods. The project’s success led to the construction of this research camp on the north slope of Mount Maurice. The non-profit Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association (YBRA) incorporated in 1936, and it became the first permanent geological research field station in Montana. Camp manager Roy Wadsworth supervised facility construction, building three log and stone buildings (the Fanshawe Lodge, Main Wash House, and Darton Dormitory) and fifteen wood-frame cabins. He used local materials and employed the vernacular Rustic style, harmonizing the camp with its natural surroundings and the majestic views of the surrounding area. The YBRA camp opened in July 1936 and has continuously operated since then, welcoming faculty, students, and researchers from universities and colleges across the United States. YBRA is nationally significant for its contributions to the advancement of geological research and education across geoscience. Multiple YBRA researchers identified and studied the “Stillwater Complex,” leading to platinum and palladium mining in Montana. The historic camp is a lasting testament to the scholars who mapped and studied this beautiful and rare geological region.


118 Howell Gulch Road | public


Montana Historical Society, “Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association,” Historic Montana, accessed October 1, 2023,