What is a cattle guard?

By
Real Estate Broker Owner with Star View Real Estate CO: II100035296

A cattle guard may be a source of nostalgia but it is NOT a person or a dog.   A cattle guard is:

 

calves in pastures 1. The subject of numerous jokes. For example: a popular version on the internet is that President Obama receives a report that Colorado had 100,000 cattle guards on federally owned land. President Obama wants to fire half the cattle guards because the Colorado ranchers protested his proposed changes in grazing policy. Upon hearing this, Vice-President Biden interjects that it would only be fair to  the cattle guards and their families to give them six months of retraining.

President Clinton had been the subject of a nearly identical joke.

2. A time saving device that is placed in a spot on a road easement or right-of-way where a gate would otherwise be needed to keep the cows in their pasture.   A cattle guard eliminates the need to open and close gates.    

Cattle Guard Merriam-Webster defines a cattle guard as “A shallow ditch with rails or bars laid across that are spread far enough apart to prevent livestock from crossing but not people or vehicles.  First known use was in 1843.”    

For example, my Dad lives in the middle of nowhere.   To get to his property, we drive on easements that are on two different land owner’s property.    We open one gate and cross two cattle guards.  Prior to the installation of the cattle guards, we had to open and close three gates.   

 

3. A reference point commonly used when giving directions in rural areas.

 

If I was giving someone directions to my Dad’s house, I would say, “After you go over the second cattle guard, follow the road to the left.   Stay on the road for about a mile and his house will be at the top of the hill. You can’t miss it.”

 

My Dad would commonly say, “If you are looking for me, I’ll be working on the road by the first cattle guard.”   That tells me that he is working on the road near the tank that the oil company dug for Mr. Bower’s cattle when the pipeline had a leak and oil ran into the creek.  That tank is near the first cattle guard. 

 

4. A source of nostalgia. 

There are a number of cattle guards that are not needed anymore because the cattle have either been removed or the road has been fenced off.   In 2007 Bill Tucker, P.E, a retired Texas Department of Transportation Area Engineer, wrote an article, “Merits of Removing Cattle Guards.”    teexweb.tamu.edu/eu/documents/07_11-12.pdf

He states one of the biggest challenges to the removal of cattle guards is nostalgia and the simple love of cattle guards.        

 

Prairie Canyon Ranch Douglas County Co

 

 

Sincerely,

Sondra Meyer, CPA

Colorado Horse Property Specialist

 

Colorado. See It. Experience It. Live It.

 

 

    

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Rainmaker
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Mark Horan
"The Resident Chef" - Resident Team Realty LLC &
Resident Team Realty, LLC & Toni's Property Management LLC

Sondra, Those city folks have no idea. I see the cattle on the Partin Ranch everyday I walk outside, as it is across the canal on the other side of the street. Cattle are a endangered species here as developers are trying to buy up the land and have options on it since 2008. I don't want to see houses when I walk outside. But they say it's progress. Nice post.

March 19, 2013 05:09 PM
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Steve Hoffacker
New Home Sales Trainer/Coach, Sales Books Author
Hoffacker Associates LLC

Sondra,

Great shots. Remembering playing on these. :)

Steve

March 24, 2013 09:32 PM
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Bob Crane
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9663
Woodland Management Service

Hi Sondra, even though I grew up in a rural area, I had never encountered one of these useful devices until I moved to NM in 1985, They are very useful, but so far I have not seen them anywhere outside of the Southwest.

March 25, 2013 09:00 PM
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Steve Hoffacker
New Home Sales Trainer/Coach, Sales Books Author
Hoffacker Associates LLC

Sondra,

Congratulations. Your post is now featured in the group "Black & White Photos." :)

Steve

April 06, 2013 10:46 AM
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Kristin Hamilton
(909) 557-6966, CDPE, SFR, CHS-Redlands/Loma Linda
Keller Williams Realty

Hi Sondra,

Great post and I thought I knew what it was and yes I was right. We had a lot of ranches and western movies too here in California. Who says TV does not give you an education. I love the B & W photo of the cows. Thanks for sharing.

April 11, 2013 09:06 PM
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Rainmaker
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Sondra Meyer - Peterson

Colorado Horse Property Specialist
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