Thursday, October 11, 2018

Up, up, and away (of another sort)

Probably you didn't see this story, or if you saw it, you probably didn't pay much attention: A National Park Is Airlifting Hundreds of Mountain Goats That Have Gone Crazy for Human Pee

Successfully captured goats are blindfolded, tagged, and fitted with GPS collars. Once loaded into crates, they’re transported in pairs to nine release sites throughout Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, and on land owned by Seattle Public Utilities.

“The plan is to reach a zero population level of mountain goats in the park and adjacent Olympic National Forest lands…[removing] approximately 90 percent of the projected 2018 mountain goat population, or approximately 625 to 675 mountain goats,” the plan states.

I almost didn't notice the story, myself.

But, I did.

And, there's a story behind that.

You see, I've been paying a certain amount of attention to the goats in Olympic National Park.

Because, it turns out, I have a distant, but rather vivid, bond with another story about goats, and Olympic National Park: Mountain goat kills man in Olympic National Park

Boardman, 63, died after trying to shoo away a mountain goat at the top of Klahhane Ridge, about four miles north of the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, National Park Service officials said Sunday.

He is believed to be the first person to have died in an incident involving an animal in the park, spokeswoman Barb Maynes said. Rangers found and killed the animal, which was to be taken to Monroe for a necropsy, she said.

Accounts of the incident are murky.

Bob Boardman, let it be known, was one of my summer camp counselors, long, long ago, when I was just a wee 'un.

He taught me to play the dulcimer.

He taught me a lot of other stuff.

He was a remarkably Good Man.

It's a bit odd, to me, that I (once) knew the first man to have died in a Mountain Goat incident in an American National Park.

So, the story stuck with me.

It turned out to be a remarkably complex story, too ("Accounts of the incident are murky"): Court rejects claim over goring in Olympic National Park

In the lead opinion Monday, Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain reasoned that park officials had discretion in deciding how to handle the problem goat.

But the other judge in the majority, Marsha Berzon, wrote that while she was bound by 9th Circuit precedent, she agreed with dissenting Judge Andrew Kleinfeld that “our jurisprudence in this area has gone off the rails” and needs to be reconsidered.

Bob Boardman didn't set out, that day, to force a decision on the potential liability of civil servants who exercise discretion.

He just was taking his wife and his friend for a walk in the park.

And there, unfortunately, was a 370 pound Mountain Goat which had become habituated to the chemical secretions of Homo Sapiens.

And tragedy resulted.

And now, helicopters are relocating Oreamnos americanus elsewhere.

In the big scheme of things, it's nothing special.

But to me, well ...

Fare thee well, Bob Boardman: good friend to a young and impressionable lad.

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