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Annual cattle drive scheduled for Saturday in GTNP

MOOSE, WY — Pinto Drive ranchers will be busy driving cattle back to the ranch Saturday morning, June 8 in Grand Teton National Park. While they’re working, a two-mile stretch of US Highway 26/89/191 will be temporarily closed to vehicle traffic from Moran Junction to the Elk Ranch Flats area.

Motorists should expect a travel delay between approximately 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. as cattle are herded from their pastures on the Pinto Ranch east of Moran to summer pasture at Elk Ranch Flats. Park rangers will provide traffic control on the highway during this annual cattle drive.

Pinto Ranch wranglers will drive a herd of approximately 290 cattle westward from the ranch using a right-of-way along US Highway 26/287. When the cattle reach Moran Junction, the animals must cross the Buffalo Fork Bridge on the highway.

Pinto Rancher crosses the highway on horseback. Photo: Buckrail // Nick Sulzer

Efforts will be made to minimize any inconvenience to travelers driving along the highway near Moran Junction early Saturday morning. To avoid the travel delay, motorists may choose to use an alternate route and drive the Teton Park Road between Jackson Lake Junction and Moose Junction.

Several years ago, Grand Teton officials requested that the Pinto Ranch shift their cattle from a historic, free-range Pacific Creek grazing allotment north of Moran to the fenced Elk Ranch Flats pastures to minimize potential conflicts with predators in the Pacific Creek drainage. The Pinto Ranch is grazing spayed heifers only, rather than running a cow/calf operation allowing for reduced 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 Flats pastures have been used for grazing each summer season.

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