Dick Benoit: Mt. Rose Highway has become an urban park
When I first drove up the Mount Rose Highway in 1974 the adjacent lands were largely devoid of people. I could wander off the highway almost anywhere and within a few minutes be enjoying a reasonable wilderness experience in any season.
Times change and the Mount Rose Highway now seems like an urban park. Lots more people, parking and NDOT does a much better job of keeping the highway open and providing winter parking. The downside is that the Highway corridor no longer provides lots of empty room for anyone willing to get off the pavement. Solitude now requires off trail scrambling to the few remaining empty places within a mile or two of the highway. There is no place there for summer off-road motorized use and historically none has occurred. However, in the winter snowmobiles have taken over the Third Creek drainage and effectively eliminated other users due to their noise, stench, an tracks that make the skiing more difficult.
It is time to admit the obvious, that the Mount Rose Highway has become an urban park and it should be managed it as such. Motorized travel in urban parks is not allowed and should be eliminated from the Mount Rose Highway corridor.
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