HIKING -- The popular trail to the summit of Scotchman Peak north of Clark Fork has been temporarily closed because of recent incidents with aggressive mountain goats, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests says today in a media release.
This is no surprise to groups that have been posting signs and trying to educate hikers for several years regarding the consequences of feeding the peak's mountain goats and letting them lick hikers' arms and legs for salt.
- I've written about the issue of hikers habituating goats numerous times.
"The temporary closure is intended to allow time for the goats find other sources of food beyond the handouts provided by hikers, and to reduce their willingness to approach humans," said Jason Kirchner, forest spokesman.
The Forest Service is working with Idaho Fish and Game to address the situation and improve public safety, he said.
The steep 3.5-mile Trail 65, which just recently reopened after being closed in August by wildfire activity, is known for its expansive views over Lake Pend Oreille and frequent mountain goat sightings.
"However, due to humans often enticing the goats to come close by offering food, or even allowing the goats to eat from their hands, the goats are becoming habituated to humans and occasionally are behaving aggressively in an attempt to obtain human foods," the announcement said.
In June, a hiker was bitten by a goat and required multiples stitches, Kirchner said. "Additionally, there have been numerous reports of goats attempting to head-butt or charge hikers, which could easily lead to a goring incident from a goat’s horns."
- In 2011, a hiker was gored to death by an aggressive mountain goat in Olympic National Park. The incident affected management of goats and other wildlife throughout the region.
No date has been scheduled for reopening the trail.
"Although this popular trail is closed there are numerous opportunities for hiking nearby and throughout the Idaho Panhandle National Forests," Kirchner said.
For hiking and other recreational information, please visit the Idaho Panhandle National Forests website.
Also check out the trail guidebook, 100 Hikes in the Inland Northwest.