To the editor:
Stephen Dow’s Nov. 9 article needs clarification. In his piece, Stephen ignores any concerns about plowing the section of US 212 east of Cooke City known as the Plug, These valid concerns include: loss of access to public lands; parking and traffic impacts in Cooke City; and public safety hazards of driving a remote road in the winter with two mountain passes.
In the article, Austin Waisanen states, “They can still trailer their snowmobiles to the parking lots and get access from there.”
What parking lots? Unfortunately, there are no “parking lots” in the 8.5 mile Plug corridor. This is an example of the misinformation campaign surrounding plowing the Plug. There are currently no plans for additional parking or replacement trails. The Pilot Creek parking lot will become obsolete, with no connecting trail to Daisy or Lulu Pass road trail systems.
This leaves one small parking area, “the dump,” on Forest Service property adjacent to Cooke City’s transfer station and helipad. The dump parking area is full all winter and cannot handle any additional use. Snow blocks the street parking in Cooke City, and on big snow years, Yellowstone Park contracts to haul snow out of town just to keep the highway through Cooke City accessible and safe.
There is no additional parking anywhere to access the trail systems off of Daisy Pass and Lulu Pass roads. There is no replacement trail system that can handle the volume of use needed to reach these same backcountry trails.
Local residents and business owners created an organization called Protect Our Plug, to provide a factual resource about the effects of plowing the plug and the steps needed to plow the plug responsibly. We encourage people interested in learning more to visit protectourplug.org/.
(s) ben zavora