Legends & Legacies: Feeling sheepish | AspenTimes.com

Legends & Legacies: Feeling sheepish

One b/w photograph of sheep being driven over the Mill Street Bridge. There are several hundred sheep, and herders can be seen in the background. Smuggler Mountain can be seen as well. The street is unpaved and the bridge is wooden, 1948.
Loey Ringquist

“Many sheep, cattle on Aspen ranges,” noted The Aspen Times on Aug. 26, 1948. “Numerous bands of sheep passing through Aspen during the past two months are headed for the high country where they will be kept until the season closes early in October. In response to an inquiry from The Times as to the number of head of sheep and cattle running on the summer mountain ranges adjacent to Aspen, Ranger Charles Fifield has furnished us with data on the official counts made by him in checking in the various allotments recently. Cattle are ranged on the lower slopes of the principal creeks with the sheep generally taking the high ridges and basins of Lost Man, Difficult and Lincoln Gulch. The sheep are ranged in bands of 900 or more with herders on hand at all times to move them about to the best grazing and protect them from bear and coyote. The total for sheep (11,560) does not include lambs. The practice of the Forest Service in counting only full grown sheep in computing the charges for the privilege of grazing works to the definite advantage of the owner. The prevalence of twins in the lamb crop sometimes accounts for 1.4 lambs for each ewe. Using this average of lambs for counted ewes, the probable number of sheep in the Aspen district is close to 27,744. These figures do not include the portions of Pitkin County up the Frying Pan River and Crystal River served by other rangers.” The image above shows sheep being driven over the Mill Street Bridge in 1948.

This photo and more can be found in the Aspen Historical Society archives at aspenhistory.org.

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