First Take: The Go-To Goats Print

The Go-To Goats

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Photo by Marc Studer.
The wooded patch of hillside between Stevens Way and the Burke-Gilman Trail is a groundskeeper’s nightmare—dense, brambly and dangerously steep. “The only way we could work on that with gas-powered equipment would be to rope up,” explains Rod White, the UW’s grounds manager. But the patch met its match in late August, when White unleashed a herd of 60 goats on it. Provided by Rent-a-Ruminant, a Vashon-based business that specializes in just this sort of nettlesome problem, the goats spent five days clearing the slope of ivy, salal, Himalayan blackberries and anything else they could get their jaws around. “They were actually taking bark off of small volunteer trees that were growing in there,” White says. He plans to invite them back in the spring for a second helping.