The Goats of Roan Mountain
NC Culture would like to express their appreciation to Victor Ellison of Victor Ellison Fine Art Photography and Victor Ellison Fine Art Photography on Facebook for allowing us to share his close-up photos of the goats.
We’d also like to express our thanks to Kristina Plaas on Fine Art America and Plaasabilities on Facebook, who not only allowed us to include her photos of Jamey Donaldson, the goats, and the working dogs, but also did a great job writing a short piece for us…this project holds a special spot in Kristina’s heart, and it shows with what she has written.
Traversing Round Bald and Jane Bald, a part of the Roan Highlands which straddle the northern border of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina, is one of the most popular segments of the Appalachian Trail. The balds, a unique feature in the Southern Appalachian Mountains, are home to a number of rare and endangered plants species. These native plants are being threatened by invasive, non-native plants such as Canadian blackberry. In 2008, botanist Jamey Donaldson proposed using goats as a natural intervention to help maintain the native ecology of the balds. Since then a small herd of Angora goats, known for their mohair fiber and ability to thrive at high altitudes, have been escorted to moveable paddocks on Jane Bald in mid-June. There they graze on woody plants and blackberry brambles all summer under the watchful eye of Jamey, the goat keeper, and two Great Pyrenees dogs – Baxter and Big Dog. In early September, the goats are escorted back down the mountain to their winter home in the valley below.
Official page for more information is the Battany Project page, where you can learn more about the goats, meet the Pyrenees dogs that tend them, and also donate, adopt, or purchase yarn or other items to help fund the project.
To learn more about Jamey Donaldson and Todd Eastin, please click here
51th Annual Fall Roan Mountain Naturalists’ Rally