As Backcountry Travelers Shift Load To Goats, National Forests Eye Risks
The number of people using goats to pack gear, game and food into the backcountry is rising rapidly, and national forests in at least 10 western states have proposed partial pack goat bans to prevent the spread of pathogens that could prove deadly to the west’s iconic populations of bighorn sheep.
As long as people have wanted to hike great distances, those people have wanted to carry less stuff on their backs. So they’ve turned to animals to carry that stuff for them — historically, horses, mules, even llamas. Now, more and more hikers and hunters are loading up goats on the trails of the west.