Forest Service: Don't kid around with these goats

Print
Email
|

by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on October 1, 2012 at 5:38 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 1 at 6:31 PM

MT. ELLINOR, Wash. -- After a rash of mountain goat sightings this summer, the U.S. Forest Service has reopened the trail up Mount Ellinor.

The Forest Service closed the trail after three hikers reported seeing aggressive mountain goats on the Olympic range mountain July 3.

In October 2010, a mountain goat killed hiker Robert Boardman in the Olympic National Park.

Over the summer, Forest Service employee Kurt Aluzas had the trails to himself. The wildlife biologist used a number of what the Forest Service calls "adversive" techniques to scare off the mountain goats.

Aluzas shot paintballs, sprayed repellant and used his voice to clear the trails of goats the last three months. He suggested hikers yell and stand their ground if they run into a mountain goat.

"We just stand firm, stand up and face them. That's all you need to do," said Aluzas.

The Forest Service said too many hikers have been feeding the goats. The goats are attracted by salt, so there are signs on the trail advising hikers to go at least 50 yards off the trails when "nature calls."

Bainbridge Island resident Doug Knight was one of the first hikers on the mountain when it reopened Monday morning.

"I've been waiting to come up here," said Knight, who said he first climbed Mt. Ellinor in the 1940's.

Knight said he has seen the mountain goats become more common and more aggressive over the years.

He said he's not afraid of them and said no one should let a goat prevent them from climbing what he thinks is one of the world's best hikes.

"Life's a risk. But you gotta do something for this," said Knight, pointing to the panoramic view of Mount Rainier, Mount Saint Helens and Mount Adams.
 

Print
Email
|