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Sheep Cross Hanging Bridges

Farmers and ranchers everywhere face challenges when it comes to moving their stock, especially when it comes to crossing water. Shepherds have solved water crossing problems by building hanging bridges.

Here’s what that looks like for shepherds in Nepal. These Himalayan sheep are crossing a hanging bridge in Ghumliband, Rukum Nepal. A total of 687 sheep, 54 lambs and 5 shepherds made it across, with one swimming the river while the rest of the flock waited.

Bridges like this have also been used in the U.S. The hanging bridge over the Big Wood River in Idaho helped as many as 3,000 sheep a year move from desert country to mountain pastures. But in 2016 one of the cables snapped, making it unsafe for foot and hoof traffic. There’s no word on its repair.


The Verde River Sheep Bridge along Bloody Basin Road north of Phoenix, Arizona helped shepherds move their flocks between grazing ranges on either side of the Verde River. It was built in 1943 and was actively used until 1984. A shortage of Basque shepherds, imported lamb and mutton from New Zealand, and the development of synthetic fibers that replaced wool drove the graziers using these allotments out of business. The bridge was demolished in 1987 and replaced with a replica that hikers use to visit the Mazatzal Wilderness in Tonto National Forest.

Do you have examples of moving animals in unusual ways? Let us know!

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Kathy Voth
Kathy Voth
I am the founder, editor and publisher of On Pasture, now retired. My career spanned 40 years of finding creative solutions to problems, and sharing ideas with people that encouraged them to work together and try new things. From figuring out how to teach livestock to eat weeds, to teaching range management to high schoolers, outdoor ed graduation camping trips with fifty 6th graders at a time, building firebreaks with a 130-goat herd, developing the signs and interpretation for the Storm King Fourteen Memorial trail, receiving the Conservation Service Award for my work building the 150-mile mountain bike trail from Grand Junction, Colorado to Moab, Utah...well, the list is long so I'll stop with, I've had a great time and I'm very grateful.

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