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Know the West

Bob Boardman was no ‘tourist’


On Oct. 16, 2010, my friend Bob Boardman was killed by a mountain goat in Olympic National Park. Bob, an experienced mountaineer, had lived for 34 years on the Olympic Peninsula and had hiked and backpacked extensively in the park. To dismiss him as a “tourist” (“Heard Around the West,” HCN, 10/29/18) is far from the truth. Actually, Bob was a hero that day, bravely attempting to deflect the aggressive behavior of a large wild animal away from his wife and a friend. Referring to Bob as a tourist also plays into the National Park Service’s rewrite of the story: that Bob’s death was an unfortunate freak accident that could neither have been foreseen nor prevented. In fact, the Park Service already knew about the aggressive nature of this animal; it had logged 63 complaints from visitors, but, largely ignoring its own policies, did almost nothing — certainly nothing effective — to remove or mitigate the hazard. Of course, had the goats never been introduced, or had they been successfully removed from the park in the 1990s, my friend Bob might still be alive.

Tom Bihn
Methow Valley, Washington