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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Outdoors blog

Video: Mountain goats, hikers both benefit from safety tips

Mountain goat on Scotchman Peak in North Idaho northeast of Lake Pend Oreille. (Bob Legasa)
Mountain goat on Scotchman Peak in North Idaho northeast of Lake Pend Oreille. (Bob Legasa)
HIKING – Seeing a mountain goat is a treat fora hiker that's expended the effort to climb into the habitat of these high-peak dwellers.
Enjoy the view, but keep your distance, experts say.
Hikers who have allowed mountain goats to get to their food or lick salty sweat from bare skin or pack straps have created dangerous situations for hikers that come later. Docile mountain goats can become aggressive. This video, produced after a hiker was killed by a mountain goat in Olympic National Park, helps us understand:

Idaho Fish and Game Department, the U.S. Forest Service and Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness are training volunteers to educate the public on the hazards of feeding or association with the wild goats that have become icons on Scotchman Peak northeast of Lake Pend Oreille.

Last year, Trail 65 was closed after goats became aggressive and injured some hikers.  The trail was reopened in February.

"The trail ambassadors will be wearing Forest Service volunteer shirts and FSPW hats," said Sandy Compton of the FSPW. "They will be taking surveys about any experiences that visitors might have with mountain goats, whether confrontational or not."

"Ambassadors will be trained in goat behavior and habits, including goat body language," Compton said. "Individual ambassadors will hike the trail at least twice during the coming hike season, concentrating on weekends and holidays.

"This will give us opportunity to teach people about goats, ensuring their safety on the trail, as well as the future of the goats themselves."

Contact: Sandy Compton by email,

Outdoors blog

Rich Landers writes and photographs stories and columns for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including Outdoors feature sections on Sunday and Thursday.

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