Goat Lick, Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park, Alberta

By Kay Barbaro
Staff Writer

If you’re looking for an easy way to see some wildlife in Jasper National Park, and be sure you go home with photos of Canadian Rockies fauna, you’ll probably want to check out Goat Lick.

Normally, goats live on dangerous cliffs in Jasper, but at Goat Lick, you'll find them right by the road.

Normally, goats live on dangerous cliffs in Jasper, but at Goat Lick, you'll find them right by the road.

This is one of the best roadside wildlife viewing opportunities in the park, though it can also be one of the most dangerous, because of the numbers of goats that hang out here.

Mountain goats usually live high on mountain cliffs, avoiding predators with their death-defying, cliff-walking stunts. But at kilometre 38 of the Icefields Parkway they can be found right near the road.

A “mineral lick” or pale-coloured mineral rich silt deposit is what attracts them. Mountain goats gather here to lick the silt for its calcium and sulphate content, ingesting so much that their droppings turn silt-white instead of the usual black.

Here are some tips to safely view wildlife while in Jasper, provided by Parks Canada:

* Never feed or approach wildlife;
* Always remain in your vehicle;
* Use a telephoto lens to take a picture;
* Pull off onto the shoulder or into a nearby parking area;
* Watch for animals or children suddenly running into traffic;
* Quickly continue your journey so that others can enjoy the opportunity also;
* Read the Keep the Wild in Wildlife brochure carefully before visiting the park.

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