Protect Our Plug

Loss of Public Lands Access for Skiers & Snowmobilers if PARC “Drops The Plow” without formal planning.

If PARC “Drops The Plow” without formal planning and permitting, access points to the backcountry between Pilot Creek Parking Area and Cooke City will be cut off if not rendered impossible to access with no comparable formal parking alternative. This includes rider access to Daisy and Lulu.

With limited turnouts on Highway 212 and limited visitor parking at “The Dump” and Cooke City, dozens of “rigs” traveling here would need alternative parking, if they can find it. 

After traveling great distances to access these trail networks, if parking is unavailable in Cooke City proper or the limited turnouts that exist, regional users and guests may become disgruntled and take their business to other areas in the west with more reliable parking and guest experiences. 

Current turnouts on “The Plug” would fit a small fraction of “rigs” one may find at the Pilot Creek Parking lot.

The Bannock trail between the USFS parking lot in Cooke City and Skunk Hollow eroded in the June 2022 floods and the USFS needs to do an EIS to initiate repairs to allow for grooming to resume. 

There is limited parking at the USFS lot, “The Dump” and on any given day you may find USFS trucks, local vehicles, and those trying to access non-motorized ski trails such as the Bannock, Woody Creek, Republic, Hayden, and others. 

Non-motorized user groups who travel great distances for a day of solitude in the backcountry may also encounter a lack of parking rendering their efforts and ability to access public lands unpredictable if not impossible. 

The unique and convenient “sled to bed” accessibility in Cooke City will be lost. Guests will also need to find additional parking up on “The Plug” with no alternative trail from town. Riding a snowmobile on a plowed Highway 212 is illegal.