• The July/August cover of Montana Magazine. Photo by Tony Bynum

    Learning more: A day in the life of a Glacier mountain goat

    What’s a typical day like for a mountain goat living inside Glacier National Park?

    A problem has presented itself in Glacier National Park recently because, surprisingly enough, researchers don’t know the answer to that question.

    One of the most visible and iconic creatures of Glacier National Park – one that nearly everyone who makes it to the top of Going-to-the-Sun Road sees – is under even more observation these days as researchers try to learn more about the animals.

    We told readers about a new study inside Glacier that’s aiming to learn more about goats, and how the increasingly high human presence there is affecting them.

     The National Park Service – charged with balancing the delicate interplay between the visitor experience and protecting park resources – launched a Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor study to gather data to design a management plan. In addition to evaluating how to make the shuttle system financially viable, the plan aims to address congestion on the road and trails with an eye to the future. It’s a journey to answer the question of how to manage higher visitation, respond to future impacts and better protect resources.

    To get tabs on the human footprint, the study is collecting data on levels of use and time of use on trails, roads and in parking lots.

    But one of the big concerns is the increased pressure on wildlife, specifically with the interaction between humans and mountain goats in the Logan Pass area.

     If you’ve been to the park this year, you might’ve been stopped by researchers hoping to survey visitors and learn more abou their interactions with wildlife. Researchers are also collaring goats and doing smaller experiments, such as putting predator scat around heavily traveled goat trails to see how the animals react.

    It’s a fascinating story about Glacier’s alpine icons and the ENTIRE STORY is online now.



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