Mountain goat

A mountain goat stands atop a rock.

Federal agencies will begin moving mountain goats from the Olympic Mountains to the North Cascades in September.

From Sept. 10-21, mountain goats will be captured in areas near Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park and released in the North Cascades. Where exactly they will be released is unclear. As of press time Wednesday, the U.S. Forest Service had not responded to a request for that information.

The environmental impact statement, or EIS, for the mountain goat relocation project includes 12 possible release sites within the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forests, three of which are in Skagit County.

According to a news release from the National Park Service, mountain goat releases in September will only take place at sites that are not in designated wilderness areas. That leaves one local site, between Diablo and Winthrop, where goats could possibly be released.

Additional mountain goat releases are set for summer 2019, according to the news release.

Federal agencies and the state Department of Fish & Wildlife are working together on the relocation project, which aims to remove mountain goats from the Olympics, where they are nonnative, and increase the number of mountain goats in the North Cascades where they are native.

Several trails in Olympic National Park will be closed as early as Sept. 5 for the relocation.

Lake Angeles, Heather Park and Switchback trails will be closed. Little River Trail and the Elwha to Hurricane Hill Trail will be open but will not be able to pass through the Hurricane Hill area.

Trails near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center are expected to remain open, but Hurricane Hill Road beyond the visitor center will be closed, along with Hurricane Hill Trail.

Klahhane Ridge will also be closed to allow for helicopters to move captured mountain goats out of the Olympics. Klahhane Ridge Trail will be closed intermittently.

More information is available at parkplanning.nps.gov/OLYMgoat.

— Reporter Kimberly Cauvel: 360-416-2199, kcauvel@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kimberly_SVH, Facebook.com/bykimberlycauvel

Load comments