Mountain Goat Fatally Attacks Hiker in Olympics
Since the 1920s, when mountain goats were first introduced to the Washington's Olympic Mountains, they have captivated and beguiled, irritated and taunted. On rare occasions, an aggressive goat has blocked a hiker's way, or followed hikers along a trail. But never has one seriously hurt or killed a human. Until now.
Tragically, an aggressive mountain goat fatally attacked a hiker, Bob Boardman of Port Angeles, near Olympic National Park’s Klahhane Ridge on Saturday, October 16. Boardman died soon after the attack from his injuries despite swift action by nearby hikers and Coast Guard medics, who arrived on the scene via helicopter. According to the Peninsula Daily News, Boardman was a devoted hiker, diabetes nurse and musician.
We at WTA are incredibly saddened by this news, and our hearts go out to Bob Boardman, his friends, and his family.
This mountain goat attack is a bizarre incident. A sidebar article in the Peninsula Daily News describes how the Park has been familiar with and monitoring this particularly aggressive goat for some time. Olympic National Park's spokeswoman, Barb Maynes, said this ram was known for its aggressive behavior, such as following people along trails, and such reports had prompted warning signs at trailheads in the area. The park had been monitoring the ram for "the last several years," she said. Rangers shot and killed the ram soon after Saturday's attack. The ram would have been killed before if there had been a report that it had made "physical contact" with someone.
A recent trip report from Klahhane Ridge on wta.org describes this particular ram as cantankerous. "He has been known to be somewhat aggressive towards hikers, bullying them out of his territory."
What a heartbreaking end to this hiker's life. May he rest in peace.
Update: There are additional details about the attack and aggressive goats in Olympic National Park in Monday's Seattle Times article on the incident.