Mountain Goats are Thriving in the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Thank you to all of the volunteers who participated in our 2020 Mount St. Helens Mountain Goat Survey at the beginning of August! Mountain goats returned to the blast zone in the early 2000's, and since 2014 MSHI has partnered with the Cowlitz Tribe and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to take an annual pulse of their population. Ten teams of volunteers hiked out to sites all around Mount St. Helens and the Mount Margaret Backcountry with binoculars, maps, compasses, and datasheets, documenting all the mountain goats they found. The results of the 2020 survey are being finalized and should be released soon.

Mountain goats hold cultural significance for the Cowlitz Tribe, and are an awe-inspiring sight for all visitors to Mount St. Helens today. Though the 1980 eruption killed the few resident mountain goats, it also blew down trees, leaving an exposed, rocky landscape. 40 years later, those hillsides are full of shrubs and wildflowers, creating the perfect mountain goat habitat, and the population appears to be thriving. We'll be watching to see how mountain goats fare as the blast zone returns to forest in the decades to come within the living laboratory that is the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

To learn more about mountain goats and the annual survey, watch our recent Views & Brews with Nathan Reynolds.

Author: Sarah Philips