Famous West Virginia goat has likely passed

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The Powell Mountain goat grazes on cliffs near Summersville, West Virginia.
The Powell Mountain goat grazes on cliffs near Summersville, West Virginia. Photo courtesy Anne Johnson.

Her white coat gleaming against the grey cliffs atop Powell Mountain, a lonely she-goat that became the darling of motorists traveling U.S. 19 has likely passed.

Anne Johnson, who helped popularize the Powell Mountain Goat through her photography, confirmed Wednesday that it had not been seen grazing above the expressway for six months.

“The mountain looks a little lonesome. The grass has grown taller, and her absence is certainly felt as I drive by,” Johnson said.

She hasn’t been seen since March, Johnson confirmed.

Over the last decade-and-a-half, after escaping a farm at Hookersville, the goat had become a minor state celebrity.

U.S. 19, while not an interstate highway, is a popular north-south expressway route across central West Virginia much used by motorists traveling between western New York and Pennsylvania, in the north and the western Carolinas, in the south.

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The goat’s celebrity was further popularized through social media, and travelers had begun to attempt to lure the goat off the cliffs and down to the roadside, inspiring concern for its well-being.

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Johnson said that the goat had been captured and removed to a farm or that it had been killed in a vehicle collision, but officials with the Department of Highways would have been aware of such an event, and no leads ever confirmed its capture.

She combed the hillsides above the cliffs in March, but saw no sign of the goat.

In the end, she said, the lifespan of a solitary goat is usually no more than a decade, and this goat had lived long beyond that while weathering winters in one of the highest peaks in the region.

“I think it’s imperative that we all remember what she gave us, what she taught us—to be strong and persevere, to love and care for one another,” Johnson said.

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