March 24, 2018

No More Semi-Trucks In Island Park?

trucks1It seems our neighbors to the north are about fed up with the noise, pollution, road degradation and danger of big trucks and are actively pursuing an ordinance preventing them from driving on their roads. Residents of the Madison River Valley from West Yellowstone to Ennis (and from Henry’s Lake to Ennis) have asked the Montana Governor, Attorney General, and Department of Transportation to consider legislation banning the trucks from highway 87 and 287.

What does that have to do with Island Park? Well, if the montanans are successful in their bid to keep trucks off their roads, it will mean there will be no trucks on our roads either. Because most of the truck traffic coming through Island Park takes highway 87 to Ennis then on to points northward. If highway 87 was to be closed, highway 20 (through Island Park) would be a dead end as far as trucks are concerned. The only truck traffic we would see would be trucks heading for West Yellowstone (and that would amount to a miniscule percent of what we have now.

If we’re being completely honest, I have to admit reducing the truck traffic would bring a measure of peace to Island Park I have been missing for some time. On the other hand, however, any time you start telling people where and when they can travel, you’ve just reduced the level of freedom for a whole nation. Not to mention the fact that the increased cost associated with “going around” this area will immediately manifest itself in higher prices for goods and services.

So do I support it? I’m not sure. From a purely selfish perspective there’s a definite upside. From a “common good” perspective, I don’t think it makes very much sense. But the good news is, our friends from the Madison River Valley are wearing the burden on this one. I just hope all sides of this issue are thoroughly considered and that it works out in such a way that it’s good for everyone.