-It's a tough sell," admits Randy Payne, a board member of Olympic Park Associates, one of several environmental organizations that support killing non-native mountain goats in Washington's Olympic National Park. "We're not excited to go out and shoot the goats, either."
high-altitude animals, first introduced to the park in the 1920s,
are now putting plants in danger by "trampling, wallowing and
grazing," according to a 1995 Park Service draft environmental
impact statement. To save the vegetation, the Park Service chose
lethal means - shooting the goats from helicopters - as its
preferred alternative (HCN, 5/1/95).
More than a
year later, mountain goats are still prowling the Olympic Mountains
and the Park Service is feeling the heat. Democratic Rep. Norm
Dicks, whose district encompasses the Olympic Peninsula, is
pressuring the park to come up with
According to a survey commissioned
by the Fund for Animals, three out of four Washington residents
oppose the shooting of mountain goats. Environmental groups such as
the Olympic Park Associates are finding it hard to convince the
public that killing mountain goats is in the park's best
"Trying to convey ecosystem functions
and why the park environment is being eroded by goat activity in a
30-second sound bite - it doesn't cut it," said the Associates'
The final environmental impact statement
remains delayed, but park officials say they're now leaning toward
a costly program to capture and relocate all of the park's
estimated 200 to 300 goats.