Call to arms: Red Lodge to petition Congress over budget cuts

Courtesy Photo The Beartooth Highway opening could be delayed by up to a month.

Congress’s decision to go ahead with $85 billion sequestration cuts will leave the economy of Red Lodge in dire straits when it goes through on March 1 according to town leaders. Yellowstone Park is expected to lose $1.75 million from its annual operating budget which will effect the opening of the Beartooth Highway, a major tourist draw and tourist artery, by a month. Yellowstone Park plows the road from Cooke City to the Wyoming State line without any financial compensation. 

Red Lodge Mayor Brian Roat spoke with Park Superintendent Dan Wenk earlier this week and was told by Wenk that “he will do his best” and may be able to cut that opening time “by a couple of weeks.”
Chamber of Commerce director Patty Davis said the delay would be a “huge chunk out of our window.”
Seventy percent of visitors to Red Lodge go on to visit Yellowstone Park.
The City Council and the Chamber of Commerce urge people to contact their local representatives to generate awareness of the impacts of these cuts on Red Lodge and find a way to get money to plow the Beartooth Pass.
Please contact the Red Lodge Area Chamber with any questions.
To email representatives about this the budget cut:
The Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, or send to Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street, N.W., Washington DC 20240. Phone (202) 208-3100.