Highway 9 to close Wednesday morning for cattle drive | SummitDaily.com

Highway 9 to close Wednesday morning for cattle drive

Winter is coming. For High Country cattle ranchers, that means getting their stock down to lower elevations and into the safety of winter pastures. On Wednesday, Sept. 7, interim Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons will saddle up a horse alongside animal control supervisor Jesslyn “JJ” Swirka to close off a half-mile of Highway 9 from about 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. to make sure a herd of 63 beeves from the Quaking Creek Ranch north of Silverthorne gets across safely.

Colorado is an open-range state, which means livestock are free to graze on land regardless of ownership — so long as they don’t run into a fence. Colorado ranchers typically bring their cows up to the mountains in the spring to let calves build strength and help steers fatten up before butchering. Now, before the seasons change again, they’re being brought back down to warmer pastures, where they can be more easily checked on and fed every day.

Summit County has seen some dramatic changes in the past century, but at least one thing remains constant: This is still cattle country.

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