Forum Index > Stewardship > Mountain Goat Management Plan Olympic National PARK 07/24/17
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RodF
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PostSat Sep 30, 2017 2:03 pm 
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Humptulips wrote:
I would imagine any attempt to open the ONP to hunting across the board would meet a quick end.

Oh, you're right, no hunting across the board.  A founding purpose for establishment of Olympic NP was "permanent protection for the herds of native Roosevelt elk and other wildlife indigenous to the area" [legislative intent expressed in House Report 2247, 1938].  So if the Park became an area of concurrent jurisdiction, NPS would issue Federal regulations banning or tightly regulating hunting of elk and other indigenous wildlife, while allowing hunting of non-native mountain goats.

Retrocession of exclusive Federal jurisdiction has many other far-reaching consequences (the state would have to accept responsibility for maintenance and patrol of those sections of US highways and a few county roads within the Park, etc.) so it's not even clear the state would accept concurrent jurisdiction.  But Congress directed NPS (actually, the Secretary of Interior) to "diligently" pursue concurrent jurisdiction, and the authority to do it!  They could if they wished.

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"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RodF
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PostTue Oct 03, 2017 12:22 pm 
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Humptulips wrote:
I know there are some NP administered lands that allow hunting.

An article mentioning the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act sheds a bit more light on this.

NPS administers over 400 sites, of which 75 allow some form of hunting.  Most of these are national reserves, lakeshores or seashores, not national parks.  In most of these, continuation of some forms of hunting was actually mandated in their establishment legislation.

Hunting is prohibited in the statutes establishing about 22 major national parks as areas of exclusive Federal jurisdiction, including Olympic NP.

In the remaining ~300 units administered by NPS, hunting is allowed by statute but is prohibited by NPS regulations.

Congress created a diverse NPS system which is not uniform.

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"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RodF
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PostMon Apr 02, 2018 11:42 pm 
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Olympic National Park Wilderness (Backpacking) Reservations page
"Due to an administrative closure, we will NOT be accepting reservations for the Seven Lakes Basin/High Divide area for the period of July 9th through July 20th [2018]."

This is the first administrative closure for helicopter flights to capture mountain goats, as announced in the Mountain Goat Management Plan draft EIS, chapter 2, page 36.

However, the July 2018 closure might be rescinded if the Final EIS isn't signed off and released in time (30 days in advance, i.e. early June).

Expect further closures in September 2018, and in July and Sept 2019 and 2020 both in Olympic NP (Bailey Range, etc.) and in Olympic National Forest (Mt. Ellinor, etc.) and in the North Cascades wilderness areas.  These are supposed to be announced six months in advance, but haven't been yet.

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"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RodF
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PostTue Apr 03, 2018 3:52 pm 
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Here's a fascinating taste of what we'll be witnessing in Olympic and North Cascades starting this summer - Big Game Transplants video by Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.  Gotta admire these guys!  How this fits within Wilderness is less clear...

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RodF
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PostThu May 03, 2018 6:33 pm 
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Final Mountain Goat Management Plan for Olympic National Park Released

PORT ANGELES, Wash. -- The National Park Service (NPS), the USDA Forest Service (USFS), and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have released the Mountain Goat Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for managing non-native mountain goats in the Olympic Mountains. The NPS preferred alternative involves the relocation of the majority of mountain goats to USFS lands in the North Cascades forests and the lethal removal of the remaining mountain goats in the park.    The FEIS is available for public viewing at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/OLYMgoat. The plan’s purpose is to allow Olympic National Park to reduce or eliminate the environmental damage created by non-native mountain goats and the public safety risks associated with their presence in the park.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with our partners the USDA Forest Service and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop the FEIS,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “Federal and state agencies are poised to begin the effort that will help grow a depleted population of mountain goats in the Cascades and eliminate their impact on the Olympic Peninsula.”   A 2016 population survey of mountain goats in the Olympic Mountains showed that the population increased an average of eight percent annually from 2004-2016. It has more than doubled since 2004 to about 625. The population is expected to grow by another 100 in just 2018. By 2023, the population could be nearly 1,000 goats. At the same time, mountain goats are native to the North Cascades Mountains, but exist in low numbers in many areas. Both the USFS and the WDFW have long been interested in restoring mountain goats to these depleted areas.   Public meetings to review the draft EIS were held in August 2017. 

Approximately 2,300 comments were received on the DEIS and were used to develop the FEIS, which includes modified versions of alternatives C and D (the preferred alternative), other minor revisions, and the agencies’ responses to public comments. 

For the NPS, publication of the FEIS begins a 30-day wait period* which is required before making a final decision on a proposed action. After the wait period, the NPS will sign a Record of Decision (ROD) documenting the final decision and course of action. At that time, the NPS will move forward to coordinate implementation of the plan and the selected alternative for summer 2018. **

Following the publication of the FEIS, the USFS will issue a draft decision document (ROD), subject to the Agency’s objection process, before making a final decision.  Legal notices to initiate the objection period* will be published in the newspapers of record for the three national forests involved in the plan: Olympic National Forest, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and OkanoganWenatchee National Forest. 

May 4, 2018 For Immediate Release   Penny Wagner, Olympic National Park, 360-565-3005 Rich Harris, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, 360-902-2515 Stephen Baker, US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region, 503-808-2690  End quote.

* Note: There is no public comment period after release of this FEIS, only an objection period during which commenters, who raised issues during last year's comment period which were not addressed in the FEIS, may file objections.

** Already announced: "Due to an administrative closure, we will NOT be accepting reservations for the Seven Lakes Basin/High Divide area for the period of July 9th through July 20th."  while helicopters are used to trap and/or shoot goats.


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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Bedivere
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PostSat May 05, 2018 6:02 pm 
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I'm *REALLY* curious about something.

If the North Cascades is suitable habitat for Mt. Goats and could sustain a larger population, why aren't populations up there thriving and increasing?

In the wild, where conditions are un-managed by man, wildlife populations reach an equilibrium with their habitat.  (Yes, I know that numbers oscillate, but overall an equilibrium is maintained).  Why are populations of North Cascades goats considered to be "too low," justifying these transplants?

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RodF
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PostSat May 05, 2018 11:29 pm 
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Bedivere wrote:
If the North Cascades is suitable habitat for Mt. Goats and could sustain a larger population, why aren't populations up there thriving and increasing?

Populations in several game management units in the North Cascades are increasing  (WDFW, "2016 Game Status and Trend Report", Mountain Goats, Regions 3 and 4, pages 148, 153).  The real question is: why aren't they dispersing and recolonizing other areas of good habitat from which goats were extirpated by past overhunting?

The USFS mountain goat specie review (Innes, 2014), citing many published studies of other populations, concludes "High population density and resource limitation may prompt dispersal."

However, WDFW has resumed issuing hunting tags (21 tags in 2016) for those units containing growing populations.  USFS also concludes it is billies that search out and colonize new areas, especially if their population has a high male/female ratio.  (The same is true of "bachelor" elk.)  But WDFW discourages hunting nannies, and allow hunting to eliminate the excess of billies.

In my comment letter, I raised the hypothesis that hunting is forestalling the population pressure that prompts dispersal.  I specifically suggested hunting in the Boulder River unit is preventing goats there from recolonizing Henry M. Jackson and Alpine Lakes Wilderness areas (FEIS Appendix J, p. J-26, Concern 55).  They summarily dismissed this without giving any reason.

Each helicopter flight must be not merely desirable but necessary for administration of the area as wilderness (Wilderness Act, section 4c).  This plan involves a finding it is necessary to translocate about 350 goats, requiring about 500 hours, more than a thousand landings and two thousand helicopter flights over and into nine wilderness areas for capture and release operations.

In Wilderness Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Serv., 629 F.3d 1024, 1033 (9th Cir. 2010), challenging an agency proposal to increase the population of bighorn sheep within wilderness, the court criticized the agency for not examining alternatives, such as restricting hunting, that would have no wilderness impact, observing it "could have taken any or all of those actions without the need for a finding of necessity.  Yet nowhere in the record does the Service explain why those actions, alone or in combination, are insufficient to restore the population of bighorn sheep."  So the court enjoined the agency's action.

For this and a list of other reasons, I suggested translocating fewer goats (p. J-15, Concern 39), and they rejected this.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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trestle
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PostSun May 06, 2018 7:35 am 
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Article in the Seattle Times this week and the comments are full of argumentative ignorance on all sides.

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Kat
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PostSun May 06, 2018 9:21 am 
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I'm bothered by what appears to be inconsistent policies at cross purposes by North Cascades National Park - a) increasing mountain goats (which are not an endangered species) by bringing them in from the Olympics and b) bringing in relocated grizzlies.

Per this study p. 8, "In native mountain goat herds, predation is likely the most
important mortality factor. The most important predators are grizzly
bears (Ursus arctos), wolves (Canis lupus),..."

So if North Cascades National Park is trying to protect/enhance existing mountain goat populations, why are they also pursuing a grizzly relocation plan which will be likely to negatively affect Mountain goat population thru predation per above study?
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trestle
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PostSun May 06, 2018 9:49 am 
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I believe I read, either up-thread or in one of the links, that NCNP is interested in the goats for breeding purposes, that in certain areas of NCNP the goats aren't thriving due to lack of new breeding lines. Adding the ONP goats should improve breeding and grow the NCNP goat population, which will be kept in check by the returned grizzly and wolves. Or something like that.

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RodF
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PostSun May 06, 2018 11:32 am 
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Kat wrote:
North Cascades National Park - a) increasing mountain goats (which are not an endangered species) by bringing them in from the Olympics

Note this plan does not translocate any goats into NCNP, only into national forests west of the Cascades crest, because these areas contain the best forage and vacant habitat to support larger populations.  NCNP, both historically and today, supports only a sparse population of mountain goats because its geology supports poor forage.  See FEIS Appendix I, especially pages I-6 and I-10, for discussion.  The full paper relating forage to geology (Harris, Rice, Wells, "Influence of Geological Substrate on Mountain Goat Forage Plants in the North Cascades, Washington State", Northwest Science, Vol. 91, No. 3, 2017) is available from the author Richard.Harris@dfw.wa.gov on request, and is fascinating.

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"of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt" - John Muir
"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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RodF
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PostSun May 06, 2018 11:52 am 
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trestle wrote:
I believe I read, either up-thread or in one of the links, that NCNP is interested in the goats for breeding purposes, that in certain areas of NCNP the goats aren't thriving due to lack of new breeding lines

No evidence exists to support this.  Ample evidence contradicts it.  See FEIS Appendix page J-21 and -22 for discussion, which concludes "The primary benefits to Washington Cascades mountain goat populations from translocation are expected to be demographic; genetic benefits, if any, are considered subsidiary."

Nevertheless, the plan retains "increasing genetic diversity" as a "purpose" (although it isn't a "need"), speculating it may be of benefit in future generations.

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"the wild is not the opposite of cultivated.  It is the opposite of the captivated” - Vandana Shiva
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Ski
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PostSun May 06, 2018 4:28 pm 
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trestle wrote:
Article in the Seattle Times this week and the comments are full of argumentative ignorance on all sides.

comments posted online on news websites seem to be, for the most part, coming from the lowest common denominator of human intelligence.
there have been a number of news sites that stopped allowing readers to post comments (for a number of reasons.)

I'm puzzled by this whole thing. I haven't taken time to read the documents yet, but from Rod's posts just above it sounds like a heck of a lot of helicopter time. I have to wonder how that's going to go over with Wilderness Watch.

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Kat
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PostSun May 06, 2018 6:55 pm 
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RodF wrote:
Note this plan does not translocate any goats into NCNP, only into national forests west of the Cascades crest

I'll be darned, this I did not know.  Thanks for the info.
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JVesquire
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PostSun May 06, 2018 8:07 pm 
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This proposal makes the 57 flights into wilderness to rebuild the Green Mountain Lookout rather tame by comparison. We're looking at lots of helos and lots of time in wilderness to do this.
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