Ketchum’s Wagon Days celebration is a glimpse into what life was like in the late 19th century in a small mining town in the mountains of Idaho. It is also a reminder that change can happen.

The Big Hitch, pulled by teams of mules and horses and driven by men skilled in plying rocky roads over mountain passes, was not a source of climate-changing emissions. Nor were their counterparts, horse-drawn carts, carriages and stagecoaches.

Then along came Henry Ford’s Model T car and its internal combustion engine. Cars and trucks delivered incredible benefits, but mankind is paying an ugly price today for burning fossil fuels in those vehicles for more than a century.

The good news is that change is once again afoot.

Electric vehicles have left the drawing board. New buses coming online as part of Mountain Rides’ stable could signal the beginning of a push toward major reductions in greenhouse gases that are destroying the West’s water supplies and agriculture.

The new Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck is also a heartening development. It’s a work vehicle priced similarly to Ford’s gas versions. With a driving range between 230 and 300 miles, the F-150 overcomes limitations that have kept many buyers from diving in.

Rolling back climate change requires that people do things differently. The new electric vehicles could finally put pollution belching engines where they belong—in a museum alongside the Big Hitches of yesteryear.

That would be something to celebrate under a smoke-free blue Western sky.


“Our View” represents the opinion of the newspaper editorial board, which is made up of members of its board of directors. Remarks may be directed to editorialboard@mtexpress.com.

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