The washout of roads serving Cooke City and Red Lodge in June proved to be a challenge, and even crippled access to those communities for a time. However, looking ahead to the winter season brings new concerns. According to the website “Yellowstone Gate,” business owners and residents in Gardiner, Cooke City and Red Lodge, Montana joined with Wyoming colleagues in Cody on Monday to discuss how to ensure winter access to each other’s communities, and to Yellowstone National Park.
Citing June’s washed-out roads and the possibility of being cut off from automobile access to food, medical care and essential supplies this winter, members of a newly formed Park Access Recommendation Committee plan to meet sometime in August with public officials in Montana and Wyoming in order to develop a plan to plow an 8-mile section of U.S. Highway 212 which has traditionally been left unplowed for use by recreational snowmobilers.
Committee members said during their online meeting, U.S. Highway 212 would be the only option for residents to connect by auto to the outside world, as the road through Lamar Valley is not anticipated to be completed in time to provide winter access. The group is also looking for additional winter tourism from auto visitors to help make up for an abysmal summer season.