Of Cattle and Men
You are standing just north of the route taken by thousands of people, cattle and
horses migrating west on the Lander Cut-off, the northern fork of the Oregon Trail,
starting in 1858. None settled here then. By the late 1870s, cattle from the west were
being trailed back to stock Wyoming range. The first Sublette County herds were a mix of
western cattle but generally not Texas longhorns. In 1878-79, Ed Swan's PL. Otto Leifer's
Circle, D.B. Budd's Quarter Circle Six, Hugh McKay’s Sixty-Seven and A.W. Smith's
Muleshoe outfits settled on nearby Piney Creek.
In the early open range days, Big Piney ranches pastured cattle east of the Green River
in winter and west of the Green River in summer. The devastating winter of 1889-1890
killed up to 90 percent of the stock, and from then on, ranchers gew hay to feed livestock
in winter. Hay meadows were built by clearing sagebrush, running ditches and irrigating
the land. The Big Piney Roundup Association formed in the early 1890s to self-manage
grazing on open range, and other associations followed. With the creation of the U.S.
Forest Service in 1905, grazing fees were implemented for the first time on public lands. In
1934, the Taylor Grazing Act was passed to manage grazing on all federal lands through
permits and fees.
Sublette County's ranchers and grazing associations are poud of their history of
stewadship on the range, which has helped keep our area beautiful and rich in wildlife.
For more information about Sulette County's historic ranches and agriculture
industry, visit the Green River balley Museum in Big Piney.
Sublette County Museum Board