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Historical Post - Week of April 24th

The Livingston Enterprise, April 26, 1890

The Billings Gazette again comes to the front with its “dog in the manger” policy in opposing the proposed change in the Park boundary to permit the construction of a railroad to Cooke. In its reckless effort to contribute its mite toward the defeat of the proposed measure it states that two much more feasible routes exist for reaching Cooke than that proposed by Cinnabar, but fails to state where they are located. It can hardly have in view the proposed route from Billings, for which a right of way through the Crow reserve was secured three years ago, but which on account of the enormous expense that would attend its construction has deterred capitalists from investing in a scheme so impracticable. We have always contended that the great expense would preclude the building of a road as proposed from Billings, and in the light of the spirit manifested by the Gazette, we are led to believe that that measure only had its origin in a desire to defeat a right of way from Cinnabar. At the time it was urged the Gazette insisted that work would begin as soon as a right of way through the Crow reserve could be secured, but three years have elapsed since that right was obtained and still no person or corporation possessed of the necessary capital can be enlisted in so hazardous a venture as the building of a road over that route. That the Cinnabar route is the only feasible one is evidenced by the Gazette’s bitter opposition, in season and out of season, to any measure having for its object a plan for securing a right of way along the natural water course of the Yellowstone. It knows full well that a road would be built along this route immediately upon a right of way being secured, and for this reason it antagonizes the interests of this section of Montana and the miners of Cooke city in the hope that it may assist in defeating the proposed change in the Park boundary. It may also be impelled in it opposition by the very remote possibility that the immense mineral deposits of Cooke will eventually attract some corporation to attempt the construction of a road over the Billings route in the event the proposed Yellowstone route is hopelessly defeated. The Gazette also misrepresents the situation when it says: “If congress passes the bill providing that the Yellowstone National Park shall be reduced in area so as to make the extension of the Cinnabar branch of the Northern Pacific railway to Cooke City possible, then that body should go upon record as being in favor of extending like privileges to other railway corporations seeking an outlet through the Park.” This statement can only originate through a desire to state the proposition falsely or from gross ignorance. If the Park boundary is changed it will leave a clear field for any corporation to construct a railroad to Cooke over the Yellowstone route. As to the park business under existing conditions, no corporation could enjoy a more complete monopoly than that possessed by the Northern Pacific. The Gazette should at least endow its statements with a semblance of truth or desist in its efforts to defeat transportation for the miners of Cooke.

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