Rounding Them Up and Heading Them Out at Grand Teton National Park

A cattle drive this Saturday could cause some minor delays for motorists in Grand Teton National Park. NPS photo of a previous cattle drive.

They'll be rounding them up and heading them out at Grand Teton National Park this Saturday, which means motorists might encounter both a stronger taste of the West and some short delays along U.S. 26/89/191, according to park officials.

A cattle drive will touch parts of that highway between Moran Junction and the Elk Ranch flats, which is about a mile south of the junction, between 6:45 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The temporary delay will allow for the safe movement of cattle from the Pinto Ranch of Buffalo Valley to the Elk Ranch pastures, which lie south of Moran Junction and the Buffalo Fork River. Park rangers will provide traffic control for the cattle drive.

According to park officials, Pinto Ranch wranglers will drive a herd of about 250 cattle westward from the ranch using a right of way along Highway 26/287. When the cattle drive reaches Moran Junction, the animals need to cross the Buffalo Fork Bridge, causing a delay of 30 minutes while cattle clear both the bridge and a swampy area just south of the bridge, they say.

To avoid the temporary road delay during the cattle drive, local residents and park visitors may choose to travel an alternate route through Grand Teton National Park using 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 an historic, free-range Pacific Creek grazing allotment north of Moran to the fenced Elk Ranch pastures to minimize potential conflicts with predators in the Pacific Creek drainage.

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 cattle grazing.