Protect Our Plug

LETTER: Keep Cooke City a ‘well-kept secret’

As seen in the Livingston Enterprise


The Jan. 24 guest column proposing that “plowing the plug” would somehow make deserved progress available to Cooke City seems to be lacking another, more traditional perspective.

Admittedly, this a persuasive article. However, as a lifelong visitor to Cooke City and other mountain towns throughout the West, it seems that this is just another promotional piece to spur tourism.

Born and raised in Billings, I have been snowmobiling here with family and friends for almost 50 years. Reflecting back to those early years I recall thinking to myself, why wouldn’t they simply plow the road all the way via Sunlight? This would sure make it easier and faster for all of us to get there, right?

Looking back, I think to myself that the earlier residents and business owners did an incredible job of keeping this winter paradise a well-kept secret. Not plowing the road on both sides may have been the most effective means in which they managed to do this.

These early stakeholders successfully resisted the urge of commercialization, and I for one am grateful. They managed to avoid turning this place into another highly accessible winter destination.

The closing paragraph of the column states that “Cooke City is a magical place” and that its “remoteness” is listed as one of three factors that “lead to extraordinary recreational experiences.” I couldn’t agree more. However, it will no longer be remote if we plow.

Change for the sake of change isn’t always the best path forward and may come with unintended and irreversible consequences. I truly hope that we take the time to really think this through. If we don’t, we risk turning this place into something entirely different than what it is today. What a shame that would be.

George Alva, Livingston

As printed in the Livingston Enterprise: