Forest rangers, ranchers save cattle stranded on Buffalo Pass |

Forest rangers, ranchers save cattle stranded on Buffalo Pass

U.S. Forest Service personnel on snowmobiles Wednesday aided two ranchers from North Park in the successful effort to rescue two cows and calves from the Continental Divide on Buffalo Pass northeast of Steamboat Springs.

— A pair of U.S. Forest Service employees from the Hahn's Peak Ranger District succeeded Wednesday in helping ranchers from North Park rescue two cows and their calves that had been stranded in deep snow above 10,500 feet on Buffalo Pass.

"We got all four cows off the pass right at sunset," Winter Recreation Technician Rick Melzer said. "But it took a long time to load them in the trailer. One of them balked at getting in and they had to lasso it."

The cattle belong to Dick "Corky" Lozier, Forest Service Rangeland Management Specialist Erik Taylor said.

CSU Extension Western Regional Director CJ Mucklow estimated the value of the four animals at between $3,200 and $4,000.

Melzer and Rangeland Management Specialist Peter Sargent drove snowmobiles up the pass from Dry Lake Campground and caught up to Lozier and a cowgirl on horseback.

"They came around to the west side because it would have been about a 15-mile ride post-holing through the snow from the east," Melzer said. "And we figured the road on this side would be in better shape because of all the recreational snowmobile traffic."

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As it was, the ranchers had to dismount from their horses at times and lead them through the snow, Melzer said.

Melzer had located the cattle Nov. 22 near Summit Lake and observed that they had hay to eat.

"This was a community effort," Melzer said. "You could see that people had taken hay to the cows on snowmobile. The owners were definitely thankful."

Once the ranchers got the cattle in motion for the long ride down Buffalo Pass Road, Melzer and Sargent drove their snow machines ahead to caution uphill traffic about the roundup they were about to encounter.

"We didn't want them to spook and go off into the deep snow again," Melzer said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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