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Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393
An traditional cattle drive will take place early Saturday morning, June 13, in Grand Teton National Park. While the cattle drive is underway, a two-mile stretch of Highway 26/89/191 (Hwy 89) will be closed to vehicle traffic from Moran Junction to the Elk Ranch flats that lie just one-mile south of the junction. Motorists should expect a brief travel delay between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. as cattle are herded from their pastures on the Pinto Ranch of Buffalo Valley to summer pasture lands at Elk Ranch.
Park rangers will provide traffic control on Hwy 89 during this annual cattle drive.
Pinto Ranch wranglers will drive a herd of approximately 300 cattle westward from the ranch using a right of way along Highway 26/287. When the cattle reach Moran Junction, the animals must cross the Buffalo Fork bridge, which can cause a delay of up to 15 minutes while both steers and wranglers clear both the bridge and a swampy area just south of the Buffalo Fork and Snake River confluence.
Efforts will be made to minimize any inconvenience to travelers driving along Hwy 89 near Moran Junction during this Saturday morning cattle drive. To avoid the travel minor delay, motorists may choose to use an alternate route and drive the Teton Park Road between Jackson Lake Junction and Moose Junction. Then again, watching the wranglers work their horses as they drive the cattle—and waiting for the herd to pass—may offer the chance to briefly experience a timeless tradition of the old West.
Several years ago, Grand Teton officials requested that the Pinto Ranch shift their cattle from an historic, free-range Pacific Creek grazing allotment north of Moran to the fenced Elk Ranch pastures in order to minimize potential conflicts with predators in the Pacific Creek drainage. Pinto Ranch also switched to grazing steers only, rather than running a cow/calf operation;this change also helped to reduce potential predator conflicts.
In accordance with the 1950 Grand Teton National Park enabling legislation, certain historic grazing privileges were retained. Since that time, the fenced and irrigated Elk Ranch pastures have been used for grazing each summer season.