Posted: Mar 28, 2013 9:07 AM by David Jay - MTN News
RED LODGE - The Beartooth Highway will open by Memorial Day weekend, but only up to Vista Point on the Montana side of the state line.
The remainder of the scenic highway leading to Cooke City will be closed until mid-June.
Crews will plow between Red Lodge and the state line, according to Montana Department of Transportation district administrator Stefan Streeter.
The National Park Service clears the Wyoming side of the Beartooth. Park spokesman Al Nash says sequestration will delay that effort by two to three weeks, weather permitting. Motorists can still make the scenic drive from Billings to Cooke City, but they'll have to use Wyoming's Chief Joseph Highway.
During the closure, the Red Lodge Chamber will tout Red Lodge as a destination, but the closures may still affect business.
"Our tourist season is all too short as it is," said Gary Robson, owner for Red Lodge Books & Tea Bar. "Knocking three weeks off the front end of it is definitely going to have an impact. And it a portion of the pass is closed people can't make it over the pass and it's going to affect our visitorship."
The Cody Chamber of Commerce raised enough private funds to plow access roads into Yellowstone National Park through the park's east entrance over the Sylvan Pass.