Have You Seen the Herd of Goats at Francisco Park Yet?
The 30 hooved animals will be on the park’s southern hillside until the end of next week
San Franciscans are accustomed to seeing seemingly random groups of these hooved animals graze atop grassy areas across the city. Tourists, however, aren’t aware of this foliage-clearing normality — and are consistently gobsmacked at the sight of them munching along SF hillsides.
These goats aren’t just aimless peculiarities, mind you. They serve a purpose: to mitigate the risk of urban wildfires starting and spreading due to uncleared ground cover. And that’s exactly why a sizable herd of goats has recently been released near Francisco Park, helping to clear the dry, dangerously dense foliage along the park’s southern hillside.
“30 goats have joined us for brush control on the southern hill dominated by poison oak and blackberry and will be with us for two weeks,” reads an update published by the San Francisco Park Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to the upkeep and improvement of the SF park that opened in April of this year.
The goats, themselves, are part of the hooved animal’s City Grazing — San Francisco’s goat-powered nonprofit dedicated to sustainable land management and fire risk reduction — deploys to various sites; the local organization has grown into a social media darling ever since it began (responsibly) unleashing of (now over) 100 (adopted!) goats on Bay Area residential and business properties over a decade ago.
Because the 14-acre reservoir the park sits on had been largely neglected over the past seven decades, its greenspaces have become overrun with poison oak. (Blackberry bushes, too, have also swallowed up the hill — which, though not as unpleasant as poison oak, are considered a highly invasive species, per the California Invasive Plant Council.)
As with any animal that isn’t a pet in one’s personal possession, the Francisco Park Conservancy is heading that everyone “[observes]them from behind the fence,” and not “feed or pet them.” Moreover: Even giving them a cute li’ pat on their fur could expose you to the poison oak in their hair.
Next time you’re vibing at SF’s miniature Dolo greenspace nestled near Aquatic park, take a moment to appreciate the group of goats doing their part in keeping our city safe from unnecessary brush fires.