Pinto Ranch cattle drive is this Saturday. Ranch hands will be pushing the herd back to the home ranch from 7-8am. Expect brief delays on US Highway 26/89/191 near Moran and, afterward, perhaps a cow patty or two. (NPS)

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Pinto Ranch will be moving its herd of cattle back to the home ranch this weekend. The bi-annual event will result in a brief closure Saturday morning (August 18) of a two-mile stretch of US Highway 26/89/191 from Moran Junction to the Elk Ranch Flats in Grand Teton National Park.

A dry, hot summer has the summer pasture at Elk Ranch Flats just about finished up so ranchhands will be pushing the 280-head herd back to the Pinto Ranch east of Moran. Last year’s late-summer drive took place September 2, so this is a bit early for the drift.

Motorists should expect a travel delay between approximately 7am and 8am on Saturday. Pinto Ranch wranglers will drive the herd eastward from the Elk Ranch Flats summer pasture to their ranch using a right-of-way along US Highway 26/287. As the cattle are herded towards Moran Junction, the animals must cross the Buffalo Fork Bridge on the highway.

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.

Pinto Ranch cattle drive is this Saturday morning. (Jackson Hole Chamber of Commerce)

How it came to be

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 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.