Hiker died while warning others of aggressive mountain goat
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A Coast Guard crewman is hoisted into the MH-65 Dolphin helicopter dispatched from Port Angeles to Klahhane Ridge in Olympic National Park last Saturday to rescue Bob Boardman after the hiker was attacked and fatally injured by a mountain goat. -- Photo by Mike Dawson
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Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News
Bob Boardman

Peninsula Daily News

Boardman recalled as friendly, conscientious

By Paige Dickerson/Peninsula Daily News

Bob Boardman, 63, was an avid hiker, registered nurse and diabetes educator at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles and a community musician.

He had also worked for years as a nurse on the North Olympic Peninsula for the Makah and Lower Elwha Klallam tribes.

"I would classify him as a very friendly, gentle, intelligent, engaging person who was very dedicated to medical care," said Dr. Ron Bergman, who supervises the clinic for the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.

"He had a lot of very direct patient contact and was always an advocate for his patients."

Bergman also praised Boardman's enthusiasm for diabetes care and his dedication to education.

"He was extremely conscientious," Bergman said.

"He was an excellent educator in terms of making sure patients knew what is diabetes, what does it mean to have diabetes, and what are the medications to take."

In a statement from Olympic Medical Center, Rhonda Curry, assistant administrator, also praised his enthusiasm.

"Bob was a deeply respected member of the OMC family," she said in the statement.

"His enthusiasm, his true compassion for his patients and his kindness have touched countless lives in a meaningful way.

"We are devastated at the tragic loss of a beloved colleague and friend."

Boardman was hired in June 2003 as a diabetic educator and was set for promotion to be the diabetes program coordinator in November, Curry said.

He was also a frequent volunteer at free community clinics in Port Angeles and Sequim.

"Bob's patient care approach used motivational interviewing, which allowed him to go deep into why people wanted to make changes in their life instead of telling people why they needed to change," said a written statement from Boardman's supervisor Graciela Harris.

"It was an effective way to work with people to identify areas where they were more likely to make positive changes."

He also worked on a series on diabetes to educate nurses in the area and was working with the YMCA at a national level on a diabetes program and working to bring it to a local level, Harris said.

"You could tell it was a real passion of his to get people healthy again," she said.

"Bob was so alive and exuberant about everything he did."

Rosie Sharp, who played in the Black Diamond Fiddle Club with Boardman, said he was a "ready and willing guitar player."

She said the club attracted many teenagers in the area who were interested in music.

"That was one of the neat things about him," she said.

"He was very warm and welcoming to those teenagers to our group, which started out not being for teenagers -- but that was the wonderful thing about him and the group we formed."

He also kept journals of drawings and watercolors, Sharp said.

"He was a beautiful artist -- his stuff was absolutely gorgeous," she said.

She said that overriding everything was his compassion.

"At some point, somewhere he was working had a great need for volunteer baby holders in the nursery," she said.

"So he would go and hold those babies -- when my own children were born, he was an experienced, very welcomed and great baby holder.

"That is the kind of guy he was."

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Reporter Paige Dickerson can be reached at 360-417-3535 or at paige.dickerson@peninsuladailynews.com.
PORT ANGELES -- Bob Boardman died as a hero, warning off other hikers as an aggressive mountain goat closed in on him, according to a witness.

With two pointed horns, the ram fatally gored Boardman in the thigh, then stood over the man as he lay bleeding, staring at people trying to help.

Boardman's death on Saturday was the first human death caused by an animal in the 72-year-old history of Olympic National Park, park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said.

The ram was well-known for its aggressive behavior, including challenging hikers on the trails around the national park's Klahhane Ridge, near where the attack occurred.

Margaret Bangs was hiking nearby when she spotted Boardman, a 63-year-old registered nurse.

The mountain goat -- almost four feet tall and weighing almost 300 pounds -- was chasing him, she said.

Boardman shouted to her and other hikers in the area to get away.

"He spent his last minutes putting himself between the goat and everyone else," said Bangs, a Port Angeles private-practice physician.

In an e-mail, she added:

"Boardman was clearly and knowingly taking on risk to protect others.

"Please let people know that Boardman's last act on this earth was to protect others even though he knew he was in grave danger."

Park rangers later found the goat, observed blood on it and shot the animal.

A necropsy was conducted on the goat Sunday night by certified veterinary pathologists.

Park officials are awaiting test results of blood and tissue samples, which may take a couple weeks, Maynes said.

"We're looking for anything to indicate any presence of diseases, which might shed light on the animal's extremely strange and unusual behavior," she said.

Rangers have been tracking the ram and other mountain goats for the past four years because they have followed people or approached hikers without backing down, said Maynes.

Rangers had shot nonlethal firecrackers and beanbag rounds at the animals to discourage them from approaching people, Maynes said.

"It has shown aggressive behavior; however, nothing led us to believe us it was appropriate to take the next level, of removal," she said.

"This is highly unusual.

"There's no record of anything similar in this park.

"It's a tragedy. We are taking it extremely seriously and doing our best to learn as much as we can."

Park officials had posted signs at trailheads warning hikers to be watchful of all mountain goats and to stay at least 100 feet from the animals.

Hikers are also warned not to urinate on or near the trail, because goats are attracted to the salt.

Funeral arrangements for Boardman are being handled by Harper-Ridgeview Funeral Chapel in Port Angeles,

Services have not yet been set.

Boardman was hiking on Saturday with his wife, Susan Chadd, and their friend, Pat Willits, on the Switchback Trail to Klahhane Ridge, about 17 miles south of Port Angeles.

The three had stopped for lunch at an overlook when the mountain goat began moving toward them shortly after 1 p.m.

When it began acting aggressively, Boardman urged Chadd and Willits to go on while he attempted to shoo away the animal and then leave himself.

The two heard him yell and ran back. No one -- including Bangs, who had left to find a park ranger -- saw the actual attack.

Other hikers radioed for help.

The mountain goat stood over Boardman as he lay motionless on the ground, bleeding.

"The mountain goat was terribly aggressive," Jessica Baccus, who was hiking with her family.

"It wouldn't move. It stared us down."

She and her husband, Bill Baccus, a park scientist, tried to lure the goat away by pelting the animal with rocks, shouting at it and using a silver reflective blanket to distract it.

It finally moved away, and Jessica Baccus began to give Boardman CPR while her husband sought to keep the goat from coming closer again.

A Coast Guard helicopter lowered an emergency medical technician who tried to revive Boardman.

Boardman was airlifted him out of the park, landing at Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles at 2:47 p.m., where further resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.

About 300 mountain goats now graze the park's alpine meadows and roam its rocky peaks.

The animals are not native to the park.

They were introduced into the Olympic Mountains in the 1920s, before the park was established, so they could be pursued by hunters as game.

By the early 1980s they had multiplied to more than 1,000 animals.

The park began a two-year live capture program to remove hundreds of goats by helicopter because of the damage the animals wrecked on the park's fragile alpine areas.

The animals were taken to the Cascade Range and other wilderness areas around the Northwest.

About 400 were moved before the agency concluded the remaining goats were living on higher slopes and too dangerous to capture.

In the mid-1990s, a draft report recommended the goats be shot from helicopters.

But the prospect triggered a petition drive among animal-rights supporters, and the proposal was dropped.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Last modified: October 19. 2010 12:38AM
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