It may seem like there’s still a lot of snow in the mountains, but we’re already planning for the summer season! That includes thinking about the Trail Ambassador program on Scotchman Peak.
If you’ve hiked Scotchman Peak, you know all about the mountain goats that call the peak home. And you probably know that they can be a bit naughty. From licking sweat off hikers to full on stealing trekking polls (because they have sweat on them too). These goats are on a mission to find salt.
Luckily, mother nature has provided them with plenty of options already. Unluckily, they’ve decided hikers (and the things they leave behind) are an easier target. Enter the Trail Ambassador program.
Volunteer Trail Ambassadors hike Scotchman Peak during the summer and early fall to talk with folks about safety in mountain goat habitat. Keeping a distance (100’ or more) from the fluffy critters is not just to keep people safe, it’s to keep the goats safe too. Becoming dependent on humans for salt can hurt their ability to survive in their natural habitat. If they become too aggressive, desperate measures may be needed.
Tracie Babor, über Ambassador from 2018, believes in the benefits of the program for the volunteers as well. “It has been a fantastic responsibility to coexist with nature, while nurturing and keeping the wild wild. The coexistence has been a renewal of the mind and body. And an honor that I have fully embraced!” And Tracie would know. She hiked Scotchman Peak three times in 2018 as Trail Ambassador.
If hiking Scotchman Peak is on your to-do list this year, sign-up to be a Trail Ambassador and do it with a greater purpose. Not to mention an excuse to stop along the trail to catch your breath while talking with other hikers.
Remember to put June 8 on your calendar for Trail Ambassador training!
Baby goats cover photo by Bryan Tollbom.