Where can I go with my goats?

Discussion in 'Pack and Working Goats' started by Garnet’s Owner, Jan 24, 2021.

  1. Garnet’s Owner

    Garnet’s Owner New Member

    7
    Jun 28, 2020
    USA
    I know technically trails that allow horses should allow goats but where can I take them in Maryland and Pennsylvania? I’ve been trying to contact people in charge of both horse and multi-use trails around here and asking if pack goats are allowed and so far haven’t gotten a definite yes from anyone. When I find trails that allow goats I’ll post a list to help others but does anyone live around here and know of trails that allow them? Also do I need to tag a goat to be able to take it from MD to PA for hiking?
     
  2. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Hello fellow goat packer!!
    I'm not too familiar with rules out east (I'm in Colorado), but the only place I know for sure where goats aren't allowed is the Appalachian Trail (unfortunately!). The AT discriminates against ALL types of pack animals though, so at least goats are not being singled out.

    Other than that, my advice is generally to assume that if a trail allows horses and/or other packstock, then it also allows goats unless the rules specify otherwise (and as far as I know, none do). Out west we battle targeted rules against goats because of the fear that they could spread pneumonia to bighorn sheep, but there are no such similar issues out east so I can't think of any good reason why goats shouldn't be allowed on any trails where other stock are allowed. I tend to go by the mantra, "It's better to ask forgiveness than to ask permission." Most government officials will only think maybe packgoats are forbidden if you go out of your way to ask. Otherwise, if you just hike out there like you own the place, when rangers see you on the trail they'll go, "HOW COOL IS THAT!?!?!"

    Now for crossing state lines, there are definite rules about all goats (including packgoats). In order to legally take a goat from one state to another, it needs to either be tagged, tattooed, or microchipped. The method needs to be recognized by the USDA. You can contact your state vet to get information on how to do this. Personally, since I breed dairy goats and already have a tattoo recorded with ADGA and recognized by the USDA, I use the ADGA wether identification program to register all of my packgoats. I currently use tattoos but at some point I might switch to microchips.

    Good luck, and happy trails!
     
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  3. Garnet’s Owner

    Garnet’s Owner New Member

    7
    Jun 28, 2020
    USA
    Thanks so much! I’ve been told they aren’t allowed on Maryland state trails so I’ve been trying to look in Pennsylvania where it’s more rural. I’ve been getting a lot of no’s that just don’t make sense and I think you’re right about people just not knowing. I’ll have to get tags figured out since only one of my goats has a tag and it’s a scrapies tag she had when I bought her. I would really prefer microchips over tags if possible so if it’s easier I’ll go that route.
     
  4. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    Scrapies tags are exactly what you need for crossing state lines (and probably the easiest route to go).

    The fact is, when it comes to government, the default answer is always "No". It's easier for them to tell you something is not allowed (even if there isn't actually a rule against it) than to give permission and risk getting in trouble, or have to come up with rules specific to that particular activity.

    In many states (and this probably includes Maryland), anything that is not specifically permitted in state parks or trails is prohibited by default. The protocol there is to contact your state parks and trails headquarters and get on their next meeting agenda. They may be perfectly open to allowing goats and the only reason they're banned is because no one has ever asked for them to be allowed. I'd suggest putting together a compelling presentation about packgoats, why they are a great pack stock option for lots of folks, why they are the perfect option for you personally, and why you think they should be allowed on all designated horse/packstock trails. You may find they are very open to the suggestion. If you need help coming up with a presentation I can get you started.
     
    Garnet’s Owner likes this.
  5. Garnet’s Owner

    Garnet’s Owner New Member

    7
    Jun 28, 2020
    USA
    I was thinking could I do a tag on a collar like for lamanchas so I don’t have to actually tag anyone’s ear or is that not enough? I really want to avoid tagging their ears if possible but I will if it’s the only way
     
  6. goathiker

    goathiker I'm watching you Staff Member Supporting Member

    Someone just needs to pave the way. Goats are welcome in the Tillamook state forest and overflow horse camps here in Oregon because DH and I made the calls, set up camp, and talked to the ranger when he came down.
    He gave us a preferred browsing area of invasive plants and it was all good.
     
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  7. Damfino

    Damfino Well-Known Member

    Dec 29, 2013
    Right behind you
    As far as I know, all goats who cross state lines need a permanent form of ID, including LaManchas. LaManchas can't wear ear tags but they can be tattooed under the tail and they can be microchipped. I encourage you to call your state vet and discuss your options and from there you can decide what will work best for you.

    Something I want to point out for crossing state lines is that you need a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI). These usually last 30 days and you have to indicate where you are going. If you plan to go to PA regularly to hike, you'll want to work out something with your vet so you don't end up paying a ton of money for inspections all the time. If your vet gets all of you and your goats' information into their system, the CVI should be very quick and easy after that. They basically just need to look over your goats, feel their lymph nodes, listen to their lungs and heart and then sign the paper. It takes my vet less than one minute per goat, and since my information is already in her system it all goes very quickly and I can get my CVI's with minimal time and expense.

    The only snag is that some states are very picky about livestock travel (New Mexico comes to mind). My vet has to call the NM state vet and get a transport number from them to put on my CVI. Most states aren't like this, and if your vet knows that you are going there and then coming back, they may not be quite so picky about following ALL the rules. Unfortunately none of the current livestock transportation rules were made for packgoats. They were made with the idea in mind that most people take their goats across state lines to sell them. We work within the USDA guidelines to the best of our ability, realizing that packgoats don't always fit neatly within that framework.

    So you've got your homework before spring hiking starts! 1. Talk to your state vet about getting permanent ID's for your goats and a premises ID for you. 2. Talk to your personal vet about permanent ID's (they may be able to microchip them for you) and ask about obtaining CVI's on a semi-regular basis. 3. Talk to whoever is in charge of the MD state parks and trails system about getting packgoats added to the list of allowed species.

    When it comes to talking to officials, if you can give them some informational flyers about packgoats for them to read and pass around the office, it can really help pique their interest and make them more favorable to the idea. You can print out handouts from this site here:
    https://www.napga.org/resources/flyers-and-handouts/
    Or you can come up with something on your own!

    Scheduling a "meet and greet" between public officials and your goats can also be a really positive and educational experience. Many of our public officials want, more than anything else, to see more users taking an interest in public lands and trails, and if opening spaces up to packgoats is a way to accomplish this then they may be very open to it. Often they just never thought of it before!
     
  8. alwaystj9

    alwaystj9 Well-Known Member

    231
    Apr 10, 2019
    Zachary, Louisiana
    Grayson Highlands Park in Virginia allows horse camping,
    i went there many years ago.