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Chattanooga Parks and Outdoors uses goats for landscaping

The Chattanooga Parks and Outdoors Department has taken a different approach to a restoration project, and it’s goatally worth it.

NOOGAtoday | Goats1

Get ready to find out about the goats in Chattanooga.

Photo provided by Chattanooga Parks and Outdoors

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The Chattanooga Parks and Outdoors Department has sourced out a different method for landscaping with the help of goats.

The department announced the goats would be used to restore the area known as the “Pump Track” on Spears Avenue at the Stringers Ridge trailhead. The area is used for mountain biking with trails + the city hopes to get it back to its original grasslands and wetlands for future programming.

Why goats?

  • They are environmentally-friendly, causing less air pollution + a safer alternative to using chemicals like herbicides.
  • They can get to areas that are unsafe for the crew + allows for the department’s focus to be on other projects.
  • Prescribed burning on-site doesn’t work with the proximity to homes in the area.
NOOGAtoday |Goats2

These goats are quite the workers — they cleared half an acre in just the first day.

Photo provided by Chattanooga Parks and Outdoors

The department’s Communications and Marketing Director Brian Smith said the city used goats years ago in 2007, addressing needs along the McCallie Tunnel, but this is the first time the department has sought out goats.

Let’s break down the process. For two weeks, 24 goats and one Great Pyrenees dog will take care of + cut back invasive species. Think: kudzu, honeysuckle, berries, etc. Brian said this makes it easier for the department to see where the plants begin to stop anymore spreading.

The goats come from Knoxville-based landscape company Knox Goats, whose crew set up the two-acre perimeter with an electric fence + the pup to keep a watchful eye on them. Brian said the animals are well protected from native predators such as coyotes and humans alike.

NOOGAtoday | Pump Track

The department wants to clear out the overgrown areas around the trails.

Photo provided by Chattanooga Parks and Outdoors

There have also been precautions taken to ensure the goats don’t touch the protected native plants in the area. Brian added that the furry friends might be used in future projects.

“When you look at how we can tackle things in trying to restore parks, this is a really unique way. It’s a natural way of doing it + a safer way of doing it.” — Brian Smith

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