The Jefferson County Parks, Recreation and Trails Commission reminds residents that this is a rural county where cattle ranching is important to our local economy. Throughout the year, ranchers move their cattle to new pastures including on public lands, so you may encounter cattle almost anywhere. This is especially true in spring and fall.

If you encounter a cattle drive or even range cattle while driving, here’s a few tips to remember:

  • When you come upon cattle being herded toward you, pull off to the side of the road or trail and let the herd pass unless you are directed to continue by those herding the cows.
  • If cattle are being herded in the same direction you are traveling, slow down and approach the back of the herd and wait to be waved on by those herding the cows.
  • If you come upon range cattle, use caution and proceed around the cattle slowly to avoid making them run. Be cautious and give them a wide berth.

Did you know that there are routes in Jefferson County that are specifically designated for ranchers to use to trail cattle between summer and winter pastures? Cattle Drive, which was created in the 1980s when I-15 was being built, is one such route. The primitive road allows ranchers to safely move cattle back and forth between the Boulder Valley and summer pastures in the Elk Park, Bernice and Basin areas.

Although Cattle Drive has become a popular route for recreationalists in recent years, all users are reminded to exercise caution and remember that the primary purpose of the route is for moving cattle. Cattle Drive users are encouraged to respect trail ethics year round, but especially in the spring and fall when cattle are being moved and if possible consider an alternate route if there is another way to get to your destination.

“Trail ethics are important to maximizing the recreational experience for others and assuring future recreational opportunities,” said Sue Kenyon, chair of the Jefferson County Parks, Recreation and Trails Commission. “In addition, etiquette is important to keeping ranchers, cattle and travelers safe.”

To report trail conditions to the Jefferson County Parks, Recreation and Trails Commission email prtc@jeffersoncounty-mt.gov.

The Jefferson County Parks, Recreation and Trails Commission serves as a volunteer advisory board to the County Commission and the County Planning Board on matters related to park areas, trails and recreation within Jefferson County. The seven-person Commission represents all areas of Jefferson County. Interested applicants for future openings please send a brief resume to Events Coordinator Bruce Binkowski at bbinkowski@jeffersoncounty-mt.gov.

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