It isn't the easiest thing in the world to see a mountain goat in the wild. (For starters, you generally have to climb a mountain.) That said, there's a fantastic viewing opportunity for NRA families on August 12. It's in Utah, and it's free!
The event, managed by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, takes place from 7:30 a.m. to noon near Big John Flat on the Tushar Mountains in Beaver County. This event will allow you to explore the 11,500-foot elevation, alpine-tundra ecosystem the goats live in. Found only above the timberline, it’s an ecosystem seldom seen in southern Utah. Other unique animals also live in this alpine-tundra terrain, including yellow-bellied marmots and pika.
In addition to seeing mountain goats, biologists will be available to answer questions and provide information about the animals at the viewing event. Spotting scopes will be available to provide a closer view of the goats; however, participants should bring their own binoculars if they have them. Attendees should also come prepared with warm clothing, water and a lunch because the area is quite remote and services are not available.
“Participants can usually see quite a few mountain goats and other wildlife from Big John Road, which runs through the heart of where the goats spend their summer months,” DWR Southern Region Outreach Manager Adam Kavalunas said. “The Tushar Mountains provide some of the most breathtaking views in mountain goat habitat in Utah, and the goat population there is doing well.”
Mountain goats were reintroduced to the Tushar Mountains in 1967 when DWR biologists released six animals relocated from Olympic National Park in Washington. The Tushar Mountains mountain goat herd has thrived and provided a source population for additional transplants across Utah.
While the event is free, participants should register in advance on Eventbrite. If it appears the weather will be too severe, the event will be canceled.
Directions to the event
Those interested in caravanning to the viewing site should meet at the Sinclair convenience store and gas station at 215 N. Main St. in Beaver at 7:30 a.m. sharp. Driving conditions can vary significantly, depending on weather conditions. You will need a four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle to reach the viewing area.