A popular trail on Mount Ellinor will be closed for at least two weeks after several reports of aggressive goats along the path, Olympic National Forest officials say.
Violation of the order could bring a fine of up to $5,000 and up to six months in jail.
Mountain goats are powerful, inquisitive, wild animals, but they are not generally aggressive by nature, said Wildlife Biologist Kurt Aluzas. We believe their recent behavior is because this year's deep snowpack has confined the goats to trailside areas in combination with a seasonally high demand for minerals (salts) and their habituation to people. There is also the potential that the Nanny goats are being protective of their young.
The Mount Ellinor Trail rises above timberline, providing sweeping views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound, making it a popular destination for many summer visitors.
But public safety must remain our utmost concern and the public's cooperation will be appreciated for the duration of this closure, said Acting Forest Supervisor Amanda McAdams.
Officials say no lethal actions are planned; the situation will be monitored and the closure will be re-evaluated again in two weeks to determine if it should continue.
Report compiled by KING 5's Susan Wyatt.