The Beartooth Pass climbs between Wyoming and Montana at an elevation close to 11,000 feet.
The route through the Beartooth Mountains, Highway 212 between Cooke City and Red Lodge, contains the highest mountains in the state. Because of its elevation, the landscape is a fragile tundra ecosystem where roads not driven in 50 years are still visible on the landscape.
The highway opens on Friday morning, prior to the Memorial Day weekend. And because so much snow is piled atop the pass, skiers and snowboarders come from around the West to carve a few final turns before summer.
Lately, however, snowmobile use atop the pass has increased. The machines are used to tow skiers back up the mountains, as well as just to ride. As a result, there’s a crowding issue and fears of damage to the fragile environment.
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Brett French, Outdoors editor at the Billings Gazette, talks about the situation on this episode.
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Thom Bridge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org