ATTENTION: To all current NAPgA and non-current NAPgA members, and all goat packing enthusiasts.
AN URGENT message from the President.
First, I would like to thank everyone that responded in writing to the comments on the ROD and EIS pertaining to the use of pack goats on the Shoshone NF in Wyoming during the open comments period. As most of you are already aware NAPgA has been in a long- standing battle over an illegal pack goat ban on the Shoshone National Forest. During this lengthy process NAPgA won a lawsuit against the Shoshone National Forest in 2016 when Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled in our favor. The Forest Service was ordered to go back to the drawing board, meet with NAPgA and write up a new “Risk Analysis of Disease Transmission” and “Environmental Impact Statement”.
During the summer of 2017, NAPgA representatives and our attorney Andrew Irvine met with The Shoshone NF, WY Department of Game and Fish, The Wild Sheep Foundation and The WSF Wyoming sheep working group in several pivotal meetings in Lander WY that resulted in a compromise that both sides could live with. NAPgA agreed to a pack goat closure in six critical core sheep habitat areas within the Shoshone with a possible corridor going around these core areas. The compromise was agreed to as most of the northern core areas are Grizzly Bear territory and were NOT COMMONLY USED AREAS by goat packers in Wyoming and nearby states.
The comments period has closed and the Regional Forester Brian Ferebee for the Shoshone National Forest has reached a decision. The plan calls for the closure of pack goats within the six described core Bighorn Sheep Habitat areas that are home to the most pristine Bighorn Sheep herds on the continent. They cannot be replaced.
The surrounding areas as well as the remainder of the Shoshone National Forest will remain open to goat packing with the requirement of a use permit and compliance of BMP’s Best Management Practices that will be issued by the Forest Service. NAPgA has asked to be involved in developing what the Permit process will look like and our request has been accepted.
NAPgA recently filed an objection to some of the language in the RADT, SDEIS plan during the objection process. NAPgA did not object to the forest plan. NAPgA did however object to a good portion of the language in the plan as it pertains to
the science. The best available science and the science referred to in the plan does not support that our pack goats are dangerous or pose any kind of a disease transmission risk to Bighorn Sheep. Andrew Irvine NAPgA’s very talented attorney wrote our objection letter to the forest service. The objection document is an absolute “masterpiece” and I encourage all of you to read and review it. The document is posted for your viewing located on the NAPgA website at NAPgA.org
Folks, we are about enter the most critical and pivotal meeting that will most likely ever happen as it relates to your rights to use pack goats on public lands now and in the future. What happens in this meeting and in the objection process will pave the way for what happens with goat packing in the future with other forests and forest plans pertaining to pack goats. We have the summit in sight. Its within our grasp. We need your support to reach the top and stake our flag.
NAPgA has depleted most of our finances getting this far with so many legal fees that come along with such a legal battle in our continuing fight to keep public lands open to goat packing. I feel it is critical to our cause to have Andy present in this next objection meeting with the forest service. We anticipate that the next objection process meeting will take place in mid to late April of this year in Cody Wyoming. The cost for our legal services to get Andy and our objection letter to this next critical meeting will be approximately $1800 dollars. Without depleting our savings, we are about $1200 short of this amount. Your president and your board members strongly feel that that this is our last chance and final push to see all anecdotal and non-scientific references to pack goat disease transmission removed from these official government documents. The falsehoods need to stop. Any restrictions must be based on documented, factual research and peer-reviewed science, not hearsay, anecdotes and conjecture.
If you would like to see NAPgA continue this legal battle with the Shoshone, please consider donating to help us send Andy to the objection meeting in Cody. No amount is too small. If you know any pack goat enthusiast who have not yet renewed their memberships, please contact them and encourage them to join. There is strength in numbers and the membership fees go a long way toward helping pay these expenses. With that being said, your president is now “passing the hat” to all of you. We currently have 157 current members. If I can ask for just $10.00 from each member we can raise enough money to cover this expense by late April. Please help us obtain a victory for goat packing. We can do this and we will.
Anyone can make a donation by either visiting our website using the PayPal, or send a check to:
13 Norwood Pl.
Boise, ID 83716
Thank you for your continued support and “Long Live The Pack Goat”.
President, North American Pack Goat Association
For those of you who have been inquiring, the 2018 NAPgA Rendezvous will be taking place in Island Park, ID From Thursday, June 21 – Sunday, June 24. We don’t have all the details in place yet, but it will be held in the same location as Rendy 2015.
Many thanks to Kent Daniels for putting this event together! We’ll add more details as we get a schedule ironed out.
NAPgA’s lawyer, Andy Irvine, recently put together a wonderful response to the Shoshone NF Risk of Disease Transmission and Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Study, which both contained faulty science to justify banning packgoats from Bighorn Sheep territory. Every issue brought up in the Shoshone documents is addressed in detail. This is a long document but well worth the read. This is one of the things NAPgA’s money pays for, and the comments may well be applied to similar situations as they arise in other areas. Click the link below to access the full document.
Once again we stand to lose even more access to the wilderness in the new Idaho Land Use Plans being considered as we speak.
There is much in the Draft version of these plans to be of concern, but the primary information that needs to be responded to is in the EA’s for each of these plans. One is called the Hemingway-Boulders plan (HBWC), and the other the Jim McClure-Jerry Peaks plan (JMJP). BOTH must be responded to. The Deadline for Comment is November 26, 2017.
The documents I have attached outline the problems that I see in each of these plans. However, there is one paragraph in each of the Environmental Assessments that is completely wrong in its entirety. It is found on Page 48 of the HBWC plan, and Page 46 of the JMJP plan. Our legal advisor, when presented with this paragraph noted, ‘There isn’t anything in this paragraph that is correct!’
This paragraph can be refuted in its entirety, and therefore needs to be the focus of your comments.
PLEASE, read over the attached document, and/or download the actual plans, and send in your comments as soon as possible. Even if you never think you will access or want to access this section of the white cloud wilderness, we desperately need your comments to add weight to what I will be sending.
Read Larry Robinson’s “Problems with Idaho Land Use Plans”
Comments for the Hemingway-Boulders need to be sent to:
Written comments must be submitted to the responsible officer:
• Send an email to: email@example.com. Please indicate “Wilderness Plan” in the subject line. Electronic comments must be submitted as an e-mail message, plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), or Word document (.docx).
- Send a hardcopy letter to Sawtooth National Forest, 2647 Kimberly Road East, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301. For those submitting hand-delivered comments, business hours for the Sawtooth National Forest Supervisor’s Office are 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
- Comments may also be submitted by fax to (208) 737-3236. Include your mailing address and phone number.
Comments for the Jim McClure-Jerry Peaks need to be sent to:
Written comments must be submitted to the responsible officer:
- Send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate “Wilderness Plan” in the subject line. Electronic comments must be submitted in a format such as an e-mail message, plain text (.txt), rich text format (.rtf), and Word (.docx).
- Send a hardcopy letter to: Salmon-Challis National Forest, Attn: Wilderness Plan; 1206 S. Challis Street, Salmon, ID 83467. The office business hours for those submitting hand- delivered comments are: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
- Comments may also be submitted by FAX to 208-879-4198. Include your mailing address and phone number.
Time is running out to comment on the latest Shoshone Environmental Impact Statement proposing to ban packgoats. This is important! The rules implemented in Shoshone will likely affect land use plans and decisions all over the West. NOW is the time to act! Please read the newsletter for information about how to comment on these proposals. If we stand back and say nothing, we have no right to complain when we get shut out.
CLICK HERE to download the newsletter.
The comment deadline of August 10th is fast approaching!
The outcome of the final decision by the Shoshone National Forest regarding pack goat use will very likely have a domino effect on how other National Forests address pack goat use.
The Shoshone National Forest has prepared a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for Use of Domestic Sheep, Goats, and Pack Goats, which is a Supplement to the Shoshone National Forest Plan, which was revised in May of 2015.
The Shoshone National Forest proposes to limit areas where domestic sheep allotments are stocked and restrict the use of domestic goats and pack goats on the Forest to reduce the risk of disease transmission to bighorn sheep.
Follow the links to the documents below. Neither is extremely long and you will find plenty to comment on regarding the possibility of disease transmission from pack goats to big horn sheep. The new best science available is not being used in these documents!
After reading these two documents please submit your comments. Alternative #3 is NAPgA’s preferred alternative. It permits pack goat use in the Shoshone National Forest with the least amount of risk for the Bighorn Sheep.
The 2016 GOAT MOVI STUDY CONDUCTED BY DR. MAGGIE HIGHLAND, a Veterinary Medical Officer and Researcher with the USDA-ARS-Animal Disease Research Unit, in collaboration with USDA-APHIS personnel is the most current best science available regarding the possibility of disease transmission from pack goats to Bighorn Sheep.
From spring through fall of 2016, 576 goats (419 packgoats and 157 housed on premises with packgoats), from 83 premises located in 13 states, were sampled 3 times at 4 week minimum intervals to test for nasal presence/shedding of Movi. Nasal swab samples were collected in duplicate at each time point, with one nasal swab from each sample collection being tested in Dr. Highland’s laboratory and the second swab from the first sample collection being tested in an independent laboratory. Repeat nasal swab sampling of the goats in this study has confirmed the presence of Movi on just 5 of the 83 premises (6% of premises). Premises that had Movi detected in any of the goats had between 7 to ≥15 goats present on the premises. Movi was confirmed to be present on the nasal swabs collected from 30 of the 576 goats tested; this means 94.8% of the goats tested had NO Movi detected on nasal swab samples. Of the 30 total confirmed Movi positive goats, 27 (or 90%) of them were ≤1 year of age (23 of them were <5 months).
In summary, not only does the behavior and handling of pack goats drastically decrease the risk of a domestic pack goat coming into contact with a bighorn sheep, it would seem highly improbable based on this large scale study that a domestic pack goat would even be shedding Movi should such an unlikely contact occur.
Comments on the SDEIS must be submitted via mail, fax, or in person (Monday through Friday, 8AM – 4:30 PM, excluding holidays) to:
Casey Mc Quiston, Resource Staff Officer
Shoshone National Forest
808 Meadowlane Avenue
Cody, WY 82414
Fax: (307) 578-5112
Electronic comments including attachments may be submitted by email in Word format (.doc), portable document format (.pdf), rich text format (.rtf), text (.txt), and hypertext markup language (.html) may be sent to: email@example.com
If you’re not sure what to say or how to say it, we have a form letter that you may use as a guide. We encourage you to rephrase it into your own words and add any further concerns of your own. Please remember to be courteous and professional in your wording.
Form Letter: http://www.napga.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Shoshone-Form-Letter.pdf