According to Shields' Magazine, March 1905:The first reports of mountain goats in the Oregon Territory are found in the Lewis and Clark Expedition journals (Moulton 1983-2000). After spending the winter of 1805-06 at Fort Clatsop, the Lewis and Clark Expedition returned east via the Columbia River. On April 10, 1806 while camped near Brant Island in the southern portion of the Columbia River (now called Bradford Island near present day Bonneville dam), Meriwether Lewis wrote “These people informed us that these sheep were found in great abundance on the heights and among the cliffs of the adjacent mountains, and that they had lately killed these two from a herd of 36 at no great distance from their village”. Lewis and Clark’s description of these “sheep” is that the “skin is white color”, the horns are four inches long, cylindrical, smooth, black, erect and pointed, they rise from the middle of the forehead a little above the back of the eyes. Further upstream along the Columbia River on April 12, 1806, while camped on the north side of the Columbia (present day Skamania Co. WA.), William Clark describes “20 natives” that visited his camp from the south side of the river (present day State of Oregon), “A man described the sheep skin his daughter was wearing. He had killed the sheep in the mountains immediately above his village, and that on those mountains great numbers of those animals were to be found in large flocks among the steep rocks”.
Meriwether Lewis also wrote in his journal “the Indians told us that they kill them (goats) with great ease with their arrows when they can find them”. As there are no known recorded observations of goats in the Gorge by settlers, it can be assumed that the Native Americans of the area coupled with early fur traders extirpated goats from the Gorge area prior to or soon after settlement of the Oregon Territory.
This information strongly suggests that Rocky Mountain goats were historically an integral part of the Columbia Gorge ecosystem. Existing habitats likely evolved to include goats. Mountain goats were first reintroduced into the Columbia River Gorge in June 1969 when four goats (3 female and one male kid) were captured in the Snoqualmie National Forest and released on Tanner Butte in Oregon. Over the next two years, three more female and one young male goat were released. Of these two male goats, one was poached and the other one died of unknown causes. In July 1975, six goats (four female and two male) were trapped in Olympic National Park and released on Tanner Butte. In 1976, one additional young male was released in the Gorge. The first verified report of reproduction was in 1980 when one kid was observed. The last sighting of mountain goats in the Columbia River Gorge was a report in November 1991. Lack of survival in male goats, too few animals released and failure to release goats as one group were likely causes of the unsuccessful reintroduction attempt.
It appears that efforts to reintroduce mountain goats to the gorge were blocked for various reasons (including sensitive plant destruction) in the 90's and 00's.They have long since vanished from Mt Hood...where the once abounded.
Do you think this could ever happen? What would the circumstances need to be? Has the climate changed too much?
Looks like Splinty thought of some of the same questions in his 2011 blog.
http://wyeastblog.org/2011/03/21/return ... tain-goat/