Bill Whitaker saddles up for one of the last enduring symbols of the Old West, a Wyoming cattle drive that travels the same route pioneered 125 years ago.
Upper Green River Valley, Wyoming
Predating most federal land management agencies, the Green River Drift cattle trail has been continuously used since the 1890s by the Upper Green River Cattle Association ranchers to get cattle from spring pasture on the desert to summer pasture in the forest. Chilly fall weather causes the cattle to “drift” back out of the forest to return to their home ranches. The trail, 58 miles long with 41 miles of spurs, crosses BLM, State of Wyoming, National Forest, and private properties. It has played a pivotal role in the development of ranching in the area as well as in the development of relationships between Federal agencies that manage grazing allotments and private property owners. The Drift was listed on the National Register in November, 2013. Because it is still being used much as it has for more than 100 years, the Drift was listed as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP), the first ranching related TCP in the nation.