PORT ANGELES — The National Park Service has decided to relocate the majority of mountain goats in the Olympic National Park to Forest Service land in the North Cascades and kill the rest, authorities said Tuesday.
The decision comes after a public review and environmental impact process that started in 2014.
“We are very pleased to collaborate with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and U.S. Forest Service to relocate mountain goats from the Olympic Peninsula,” said Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “In turn, we support the state, the U.S. Forest Service, and area tribes to re-establish sustainable populations of goats in the Washington Cascades, where goats are native, and populations have been depleted.”
A 2016 population survey of mountain goats in the Olympic Mountains showed that the population increased an average of 8 percent annually from 2004 to 2016. It has more than doubled since 2004 to about 625, park officials said.
The population is expected to grow by another 100 this year. By 2023, the population could be nearly 1,000 goats. Mountain goats are native to the North Cascades Mountains but exist in low numbers in many areas, the government said. Both the Forest Service and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife have long been interested in restoring mountain goats in the North Cascades.
The Park Service capture and relocation operations will begin this summer.
The environmental impact statement, record of decision and other reference documents can be found on the NPS Planning Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/OLYMgoat.