In response to the Jan. 6 guest commentary regarding the relocation of mountain goats from Olympic National Park to the North Cascades, there are several points that need correction.
Yes, the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s mandate is to manage wildlife for all citizens, however there is another mandate: “Maximize the public recreational game fishing and hunting opportunities for all citizens.” A survey of opinion on hunting showed that 80 percent of our citizens approve of legal and regulated hunting.
The goats in Olympic National Park are in direct conflict with the park mandate to protect the ecosystem in its natural state. The goats are not native to the park. The goats are destroying native vegetation. They also are become more aggressive and have killed one hiker. The Park Service has made the decision to remove the goats and relocation has emerged as the acceptable solution.
Give credit to the WDFW for acknowledging that over-hunting, along with other factors, has caused a decline in the North Cascades population. The goal of relocation is to stabilize the goat population, then give consideration to hunting opportunity.
Our state is very unique in having five different habitat types. This creates our wildlife diversity and a variety of outdoor activities. We all may not participate in the same activities, but we all should respect and accept our neighbors’ passion in the outdoors.
As with most issues we all have far more in common than our differences. Sportsman and conservation organizations have discovered this and have seen many successes for the benefit of wildlife.