Cog Railroad owner Dwayne Prezby is at it again. After failing to secure permits for a mountaintop hotel along the Cog Railroad tracks on Mt. Washington in 2018, Prezby has revamped his plans to include lodging in Cog boxcars staged above treeline. Prezby’s second go at a “hotel”—announced March 2022—would, if approved, include a bar and restaurant. A sewer line would be built along the Cog tracks to carry human waste down the mountain. Although most of the mountain is part of the White Mountain National Forest or is owned by the State, Prezby owns a small parcel of land along the Cog tracks, near the summit. “Those butthead hikers objected to me building a hotel on the mountain—a slap in the face of my God-given right to do whatever I want on land that I own,” said Prezby. “But this time, nothing will be built on the mountain, it'll all be contained in rail cars. It's going to be great. Let them try to stop me now. Ha! Let them try."
In 2018, Prezby withdrew his original hotel proposal in the face of public blowback, especially among the hiking community. Hikers, search and rescue volunteers, and ecologists warned that the proposal would exacerbate impacts to alpine soils and endangered vegetation, negatively impact scenery, increase litter, and create situations where inexperienced visitors could get lost in the notoriously bad weather Mt. Washington is known for. There were petitions and talk of boycotting the Cog Railroad. In response, Prezby exacted revenge by charging hikers a “railway robbery” sum of $10 per person to park at the Cog Railroad parking lot—well beyond the $5 per car fee (or $30/year) that the U.S. Forest Service charges for their lots.
"I’m also planning a casino, Vegas style shows, and maybe a gentleman’s club. And each railcar will be painted with billboard ads and neon lighting. We’re thinking of calling it Dwayne Prezby’s Pleasure Express. It’s going to be the best thing that has ever happened at 6,000 feet. Just you wait and see. When I’m finished, you won’t even know the mountain is there.”
--Junior Parsnip editor, Picea Rubens
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