Here's the eco-friendly reason Austin's mayor was out walking a goat this week
If you think you saw Austin Mayor Kirk Watson out on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail walking a goat on Tuesday, your eyes weren’t playing tricks on you. It’s a part of the new “Goats on the Trail” program from the Trail Conservancy (TTC), and you can get involved, too.
TTC, which protects and supports the popular trail, announced back in June that it was bringing goats to the trail to manage vegetation and eat some of the invasive plants along the trail. That includes elephant ear, as well as noxious plants dangerous to humans and pets, like poison ivy.
The goats don't just make the trail safer for those using it; Clearing the vegetation also decreases the risk of wildfires.
These furry lawn mowers are so good at their jobs that they've found employment through Rent-A-Ruminant, the company that hooked Mayor Watson up with Dolly, the goat that went with him on the high profile stroll. It's a simple landscaping solution that requires zero manpower beyond getting the goats there.
Mayor Kirk Watson, Dolly, and Kyle and Carolyn Carr, owners of Rent-A-Ruminant.Photo courtesy of the Trail Conservancy
Why goats? They’re more nimble than humans, for one thing. They climb hills easily and sometimes they'll even get on their hind legs to munch higher up on shrubs. They’re also eco-friendly (at least more so than a Ryobi), and they fertilize the area. Plus, they’re pretty cute.
TTC has 150 goats, and each and every one of them has a name displayed proudly on their ear tag. (You can see all the names on the conservancy’s website – some highlights are Lil Debbie, Curly Sue, Jethro, Uncle Rico, and Ozzy.)
The goats spent about a month out on the trail clearing vegetation over the summer, and the conservancy plans to have them back again. To do that, it’s raising money via its Adopt A Goat program.
For $250, Austinites can adopt a goat and receive a certificate with the goat’s name. Just in time for the holidays, you’ll also receive a “TTC Goat Tote” (a tote bag with a goat on it) and a goat holiday ornament.
It’s the perfect gift for that loved one who just has everything (but definitely needs a goat).