Awesome article! I worked with Tom and Carol Beene. He was a crusty old cowboy. She was a housewifey Jehovah's Witness. I came in around 1974, heard about it via my boyfriend at the time, who was an SDSU biology graduate. He knew all the principal players in the goat removal project. I volunteered. First time I flew out there I was the only one on the plane going to chase goats. Tom told me the biology students had gotten busy and rarely showed up any more. He would talk a few swabbies into helping out once in a while. He pleaded with me to find new volunteers.
So, I became a sort of unofficial volunteer coordinator. I knew a lot of hikers and backpackers. And if you are into adventure and into going places you generally are not allowed to go, what better place than San Clemente Island? You didn't need a security clearance to round up goats. For a couple of years I went out there fairly regularly on weekends, usually with 3 or 4 other hikers. Then there was a break where Tom didn't need us any more--we were not able to catch any more goats because the herds were so thinned out. I was called by the head biologist, Jan Larson (a man, not the same Larson in the article--I don't know why they left him out). He wanted 20 people to do a census. I found about 20 people and we all flew out together. That time we did not stay at the old radio shack on top of the island. We stayed in the barracks and ate at the chow hall. (Good chow!) The biologists divided the island into sections and dropped us off in pairs all over the place. Over a couple of days we counted 1500 goats. The following spring was a wet one, and the goats really started to reproduce. I heard that very quickly the population rose to about 4,000.
It's a very rugged island, lots of deep canyons, cliffs, and lots of cholla on the southern end of it. Hard to accomplish this task. Very glad they finally got it done. The island is beautiful. The tide pools contain thousands of black abalones (yes, we ate them!) The beaches are full of interesting flotsam and jetsam. I wish I had a photo of the whale skeleton we saw one time washed up on the beach. It's a bit of the old California, before the intensive settlement and development.
There is a point of no return unremarked at the time in most lives. Graham Greene The Comedians
A clean house is a sign of a misspent life.