NAPgA Responds to the Shoshone National Forest’s Proposed Curtailment of Goatpacking

On May 12, 2017, the Shoshone National Forest published a Notice of Availability for, and requested comments on, the Shoshone National Forest Risk Analysis of Disease Transmission between Domestic Sheep and Goats and Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep (“RADT Report”) and Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Use of Domestic Sheep, Goats and Packgoats (“SDEIS”). Following the Notice of Availability, on June 6, 2017, the North American Packgoat Association (“NAPgA”) through its counsel, Andrew A. Irvine, P.C., requested a meeting with the Shoshone National Forest and other interested parties to discuss issues raised in the RADT Report and SDEIS concerning the use of pack goats on the Forest. In response, the Shoshone National Forest hosted a public meeting concerning the RADT Report and SDEIS in Lander, Wyoming, on July 28, 2017, where NAPgA’s counsel, representatives of NAPgA, the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, the national Wild Sheep Foundation, the Bighorn Restoration Group, the Wyoming Wool Growers Association, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, and the public met and discussed issues concerning bighorn sheep management and the use of pack goats on the Forest. As a result of the meeting, these representatives, independent of the Shoshone National Forest, agreed to collaboratively develop an additional and potential reasonable alternative for the SDEIS concerning bighorn sheep management and the use of pack goats on the Forest.NAPgA Logo

As part of this collaborative effort, NAPgA’s counsel, representatives of NAPgA, the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, the Bighorn Restoration Group, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, and the public met again in Lander, Wyoming, on August 29, 2017, and developed the framework for an alternative that would restrict the use of pack goats from certain areas of the Shoshone National Forest, but allow such use in other areas of the Forest under a permit system. Following this meeting, and throughout the month of September, these representatives worked together to prepare a written alternative based upon the agreed upon framework and which would adequately address the concerns of each representative. The result of this collaboration is the attached “Alternative 4” (click here to view Alternative 4), which presents an additional reasonable alternative for the SDEIS that would allow the use of pack goats outside currently occupied core native bighorn sheep habitat on the Shoshone National Forest under a permit system.

In addition to working with the representatives listed above to collaboratively develop and submit a new alternative for the SDEIS, NAPgA, through its counsel, also prepared and submitted the attached comments (click here for NAPgA’s comments) on the Shoshone National Forest’s RADT Report and SDEIS. The Shoshone National Forest is currently considering NAPgA’s comments, as well as the new Alternative 4. The Shoshone National Forest is expected to finalize the RADT Report and publish a Final SEIS by January 10, 2018.