June 9, 2008
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott announced today that motorists may experience a minor travel delay along Highway 26/89/191 from Moran Junction to the Elk Ranch flats (one mile south of the junction) on Saturday morning, June 14, between the hours of 6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. 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 during the cattle drive.
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 will need to use the roadway to cross the Buffalo Fork bridge. At this point, motorists will likely experience a delay of 30–40 minutes while cattle clear both the bridge itself and a swampy area just south of the bridge.
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. Every effort will be made to reduce the time required for this travel delay and minimize any inconvenience to travelers who may be using Highway 26/89/191 to access Moran Junction during the Saturday morning cattle drive.
Grand Teton National Park officials requested that the Pinto Ranch shift their cattle from their historic, free-range Pacific Creek grazing allotment north of Moran to the fenced Elk Ranch pastures in order to minimize potential conflicts with predators living 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.