It will be at least two weeks before a popular hiking trail in Olympic National Forest re-opens to the public. The Mount Ellinor Trail was closed this week due to reports of aggressive mountain goats.
About two years ago, a Port Angeles man died after he was gored by a mountain goat in the park. That goat was later killed by a park ranger.
Experts say the goats may be approaching people because they’re looking for food -- specifically salt. And that usually happens in the spring and the early summer.
Cliff Rice is a research scientist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and has some advice for hikers.
Rice: “Well certainly they should avoid distributing any food items, or leaving any food items, or even probably consuming any food items when there are mountain goats around.”
Rice says goats are also attracted to the salt in human urine and advises hikers to urinate on rocks and away from hiking trails and campsites.
Forest officials said they have received several reports of encounters with aggressive goats this week. Experts also say the goats may be on the trails because of this year's deep snowpack. And the animals might be aggressive because they’re protecting their young.
They say the trail will be monitored and that there are no current plans to kill the goats.
Copyright 2012 KUOW