What a month it has been for both mountain goats and trail ambassadors. Many different reports showing a lot of different things but for the most part, it seems the goats are finally catching a break.
Summer 2016 is turning out to be quite a busy year for Trail # 65 to Scotchman Peak. Almost every weekend there has been upwards of 25 people hiking the trail and LOTS of dogs. It turns out that dogs have been a huge help for getting the goats to stay away. Jay Sicilia, the mountain goat education coordinator, notes that on average there are about three dogs a day going up the trail and that when they are present the mountain goats keep their distance far more than when they only see humans. “The more dogs we have on the trail, the less amount of interactions we are seeing between people and mountain goats” said Sicilia.
The question of “should I bring my dog on the hike” continues to come up in the last month. It’s not a bad idea to bring your dog with you. However, it should be on a leash and/or electric collar. “The mountain goats typically won’t be aggressive towards the dogs,” Sicilia said, “but we can’t say the same about the dogs towards both goats and people.”
The rocky summit of Scotchman Peak is home to the mountain goats and the goats shouldn’t be threatened by dogs barking or chasing them away. Simply seeing a dog and a human together seems to be more then enough to get the goats to keep there distance.
Trail ambassadors continue to report a positive feedback from the public and have had many remarkable experiences, themselves. “The mountain goat education program has been a complete success up to this point and we’re confident that it will continue to make a difference in the future.” Said Sicilia.
FSPW has also placed two port-a-potties in the parking lot to help reduce — or, better yet, eliminate — the amount of waste and garbage found near and on the trail. FSPW, as well as US Forest Service, would like to see trash decreased as much as possible. Please take part in this and help keep the Scotchman Peak trail clean.
If you pack it in, then pack it out.