A traditional cattle drive will take place early Saturday morning, August 18, in Grand Teton National Park. While the cattle drive is underway, 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 that lies just one mile south of the junction in the northern area of the park. Motorists should expect a travel delay between approximately 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. as cattle are herded from their summer pasture at Elk Ranch Flats to their pastures on the Pinto Ranch east of Moran. Park rangers will provide traffic control on the highway during this cattle drive.
Pinto Ranch wranglers will drive a herd of approximately 280 cattle 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.
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.