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Goat Ambassador program wraps up


November 1, 2018

Courtesy Photo

Scotchman Peak's infamous mountain goat herd should be viewed from a distance.

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness (FSPW) wrapped up its third season of their Goat Ambassador Program on October 7. This joint program between the Forest Service, Idaho Fish and Game and FSPW has educated thousands of hikers over the past few years about mountain goat and human safety while hiking the iconic Scotchman Peak trail.

Many hikers do not realize that their goat selfies could have serious consequences – both for the hikers and the goats. Just ask Olympic National Park. In 2015 after a hiker was bitten by a mountain goat on Scotchman Peak, the trail was closed for six months. Since the inception of the Ambassador Program, no injuries have been reported and the trail has remained open.

Every season has brought in some great new volunteers and this season was no exception. "The volunteers stepped up to help us educate the public on safe hiking practices when in mountain goat habitat," praised program coordinator Mary Franzel. "They are instrumental in helping us get the message out." In total, 43 volunteers climbed Scotchman Peak over the course of the season. Some drove all the way from Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls and Spokane.

New larger and brighter warning signs were placed on the trail and at the trail head to further increase educational efforts, and the Forest Service continues to have goat survey forms at the trail head that hikers are asked to complete. "These surveys had a few reports of bad human-goat interactions, but also had numerous comments regarding the excellent trail and beautiful hike," added Franzel. "This summer brought folks from all over the U.S. and Europe to our area enjoying the outdoors."

A recap of the 2018 Goat Ambassador season by the numbers:

* 38 days of Ambassadors on the trail

* 43 volunteers

* 305 hours on the trail

* 1,350 hikers educated (average of 35 per day with a high of 84 on July 1)

* Up to 15 goats were reported over the course of the summer

* Other wildlife: one black bear and one cow moose and calf were spotted

Thank you to the 2018 Trail Ambassadors for making this season another success (* = hiked 2+ days): Jacob Arrington*, Tracie Babor*, Susan Bates-Harbuck, Erick Berntsen, Melissa Bonsell, Diane Brockway, Kristy Canright, Mark Cochran, Susan Conway- Kean, Jame Davis, Susan Drumheller, Katie Gordon, Joa Harrison and family, Jane Hoover, Phil Hough*, Deb Hunsicker*, Dan Krabacher*, Brian McVey *, Theresa MacLennan, Francine Mejia , Cami Murray, Elizabeth Oliver, Jeannie Patterson, Katie Radborn-Dale, Nancy Schmidt, Howard Shay*, Connie Shay*, Larry Siegrist, Jason Smith, Kim Taylor and Kate Walker.


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