Producer: Jule Gilfillan Camera: Tom Shrider Editor: Todd Sonflieth Grip: Clarence Ng Additional Video: US Forest Service
Special Thanks: Mount St. Helens Institute
Prior to the eruption of Mount St. Helens, few people realized there were mountain goats living in the area.
While that population was likely wiped out by the blast, anecdotal sightings of these high-climbing, sure-footed mammals began to crop up in the 1990s. In 2014, Gifford Pinchot National Forest biologist Mitch Wainwright put together the first official mountain goat survey. Sixty-five were counted by volunteer teams in the Mount St. Helens/Mount Margaret area.
We go along on a 2015 land survey and team up with tribal ecologist Nathan Reynolds to look at these charismatic megafauna through the cultural lens of the Cowlitz tribe, members of whom once collected and wove tufts of goat hair into ceremonial blankets.