Comment deadline on goat plan likely extended

January 5, 2019

Because of the federal government shutdown, the public will likely have more time to weigh in on Grand Teton National Park’s plans to relocate and eradicate the Tetons’ mountain goat population.

The comment deadline on the plan was set for Sunday, but National Park Service officials dealing with a partially shuttered agency foresee more time being granted. The website where related documents are posted and a comment submission form lives has been offline since “nonessential” government functions shutdown Dec. 22.

“I anticipate the comment period will be extended,” park spokeswoman Denise Germann said, “but I’d still encourage people to get their comments in.”

Letters about the plan can also be mailed to: Grand Teton National Park, Attn: Goat Management Plan, PO Box 170, Moose, WY 83012.

The environmental assessment outlining the plan is not accessible on National Park Service websites, but it is being hosted by the Jackson Hole News&Guide at tinyurl.com/GTNPgoatplan.

The park’s proposal to rid the Tetons of about 100 or so non-native mountain goats comes from concern about impacts to a small and vulnerable native bighorn sheep herd that dwell in some of the same nooks of the range. Park Service policy demands that steps be taken to prevent exotic species from displacing native species.

Teton park’s plan estimates that approximately 25 of the 100 mountain goats in the Tetons would be relocated, rather than killed. The remaining goats would be shot and left in place by contractors or trained Park Service staff armed with shotguns aboard helicopters or using rifles from the ground.

Park biologists say they’re worried about goats spreading potentially catastrophic diseases to the sheep herd, and that they would like to act quickly.

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