Sure enough, our beloved goats have returned from their off-season stomping grounds. We spotted the billies roaming the lower reaches of Hiller Highlands this afternoon, making rapid progress on a now-mowed patch. You might catch a glimpse yourself, while looping from 24 West to 13 South.
With brush growing quickly around here, these goats contribute to annual fire-prevention efforts. The East Bay Regional Park District has scheduled two major grazings this year – first in Claremont Canyon from May 23rd – June 3rd, and then at Redwood Regional Park from July 19th – August 4th.
To prepare for fire season, the goats won’t have to operate alone. The Park District already has cut down brush and intends to oversee controlled burns along with local fire officials. As soon as calm weather prevails, these burns will take place in Gwinn Canyon, a high-risk area flanking Claremont Canyon. So don’t be alarmed if you see a little weekday smoke in the hills.
Within a couple weeks, Montclarions will need to start working as well. It’s almost time to get out your machetes and slay the greenery growing too closely to your homes. While still a whisper, there will be rallying cries: defensible space! defensible space! defensible space!
April 20th Update: The NY Times Bay Area blog reported about local goats, since our Oakland City Council is deliberating on whether to approve (or not approve) $250k for goat grazing on city-owned lands.