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How do you locate section township ranges?

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Quick Answer

"Township," "range" and "section" are terms used in the Public Land Survey System to designate the location of land in relation to a baseline and Principal Meridian. "Township," with a capital "T," refers to the location north or south of a baseline, while "range" refers to a distance east or west of the Principal Meridian. When not capitalized, "township" refers to a 6-square-mile piece of land divided into 36 square-mile sections.

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Full Answer

The PLSS is a method of surveying that began after the Revolutionary War, and the system has continued to evolve since its birth. Early surveys didn't always follow the same procedure used in later surveys. Meridians and baselines sometimes cross state lines and other times do not.

Sections are normally divided and numbered so that an individual section can be designated by the state, range, Principal Meridian name and Township designations, along with directions and the section number. Section numbering starts with "1" in the upper-right corner and proceeds along the top row to "6" in the upper-left. Section 7 is directly under 6, and the numbers then go from left to right on the second row and alternate until reaching 36 in the lower-right corner. Each section should be 640 acres, though sometimes they aren't perfectly square.

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