The road through Yellowstone from Cooke City to Gardiner, Mont., is open year-round so as not to disenfranchise Cooke City area residents from their county seat of Livingston. There is no other reason the road is plowed in winter.
A portion of the highway east of Cooke City to Cody, commonly referred to as The Plug, is not plowed in winter. The National Park Service has been the sole maintenance provider of this segment. Let there be no mistake, this road is not “orphaned.”
The NPS chose not to plow The Plug many decades ago, thus disenfranchising Mammoth residents from their county seat of Cody. No matter, Mammoth bureaucrats have never considered themselves socially or culturally a part of Wyoming. In their minds they are Montanans.
Should the Cooke City area and The Plug be annexed by Wyoming, removing any doubt of maintenance jurisdiction, Mammoth residents would likely demand Montana annexation. Montana Democrats would welcome this gerrymandering scheme.
Mammoth bureaucrats flat do not care about the Cowboy State, which brings us to Sylvan Pass. Plow The Plug and it is goodbye East Entrance as we currently know it. Those with long memories know the east gate summer season has already shrunk considerably. Time was, weather permitting, the gate opened for public use in April.
Mammoth’s favorite access-spoiling trifecta of safety, funding and resource protection will be in perpetual play on Sylvan Pass should Wyoming be suckered into plowing The Plug. To wit; Safety: Bigger and frequent avalanches through June. Funding: Fuel prices, labor shortages, etc. Resource protection: A new Wolverine Study Area on Sylvan Pass will mean no early and late summer season traffic.
The NPS’ curt response to a bellyaching Xanterra Boulevard (aka, Sheridan Ave.) – “You have your other gate only 26 miles farther to the park.”
Steve Torrey – Cody