Where are the Rockies?

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A billboard sign to west of Wallace was erected proclaiming, “Wallace Gateway to the Rockies“ This statement is so glaringly stupid that it requires a response. Apparently, a golf cart driving drugstore cowboy and the triangular sandwich community that hatched this idea have no concept that the Rockies are a three hour drive east of Wallace.

This silly claim carries the same veracity as saying, “Wallace, Gateway to Moses Lake.” Even though Wallace sits squarely in the middle of the Bitterroot Mountains surely some ignorant individual will argue the Bitterroots are a branch of the Rockies. But if we use that argument as our benchmark everything in the universe is a branch of something else therefore, we ought to start calling Placer Creek the Little East Fork of the Columbia River since its waters ultimately reach the Pacific via that river.

Moreover, it is absurd to denigrate all the local mountain ranges including but not limited to: the Bitterroots, Mallard Larkins, Selkirks, Cabinets, Coeur d’Alenes and Saint Joe’s to elevate the Rockies which most people associate with the State of Colorado. Idaho has its own story to tell with our vast wilderness, wild scenic rivers and high jagged peaks.

To what end are we following this faulty marketing strategy and why did the Wallace Inn use this pitiful marketing scam to sell rooms on the radio? Clearly, a “gateway” is synonymous with a “fly over” community and thus, we — including Kellogg — stop being a destination and become a place to fuel up, grab a gas station treat and move along.

In addition, because the claim is not true, we look like a community of desperate simpletons lying to the public to make a fast dollar of which, I assure you, I and many residents of these Bitterroots, are not in agreement.

Personally, I find it embarrassing to be lumped in with this crowd of incompetents. While the supporters of this sign desecrate the mountains I love, perhaps they ought take time to explore our mountains and introduce themselves to nature and, like me, mountain bike into our high alpine lakes, sit upon great mountain passes and look up at snowy mountain peaks in the back county on skis or, maybe they could take a moment and simply take a drive and notice where we live.

We are not the Rockies or a national park but made up of very special real communities with Wallace, Kellogg, Pinehurst, Osburn, Mullan and Murray being hard working mountain towns with men wearing Carharts as formal wear and our pretty ladies being lovely without prancing around with vast costly name brands garments. We are among the last mountain areas where fakery is not our hallmark. If the people that hatched this idea are so enamored with the Rockies I encourage them to move to those mountains were a grizzly can find a better use for them and stop marketing us with their cheap vanity.

Jon Ruggles,

Wallace

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