The city council approved a proposal to Rent-a-Ruminant for using goats to clear vegetation at Big Rocks Park this spring.
The area is overgrown with brush and it is too dangerous for visitors or residents to enjoy.
“I feel if we cleared this out then it will open up a whole new place for everyone to enjoy,” said Robert Marquez, city council member.
Terry Carr, a spokesman for Rent-a-Ruminant, talked about the benefits of using this business as opposed to renting equipment and putting city employees at risk to clean out the area.
Carr explained that the latest job with the city of White Settlement was successful. In fact, it became entertaining for people to stop by and watch the goats clearing the land and they even set aside time for a petting zoo.
“Goats have quite the personality and a hard work ethic. They enjoy eating briars and climbing and so this is heaven for them,” said Carr.
Councilman Chris Bryant asked how the goats would be maintained while on the job.
“We use plastic blocks that set up an electrical fence around the area they are clearing, which not only keeps the goats in, but also keeps predators out, and we have a trailer that is manned 24/7 in the area as well," said Carr.
City Administrator Michael Leamons explained that the money would come from the account used for upkeep, landscaping and mowing.
The Big Rock Park issue has been in question for some time. The area is not easily accessible, tends to collect debris and is steep and hard to reach in some places.
“There is also the danger of snakes. There have been reports of snakeheads up there and when I tried to go investigate, it was just too dangerous to maneuver,” said Leamons.
Jim Holder, public works director, explained that the cost versus the danger and cost of workman’s comp to city employees is more expensive than renting the goats.
“This is a way to naturally clear the area without the use of pesticides and safer than having actual employees trying to clear the land,” said Holder.
Carr told the council that since Glen Rose is a tourist area this would add to the entertainment at the park.
“People love to watch goats climbing rocks and standing on their hind legs to eat vegetation that is eight feet high,” said Carr.
Carr also pointed out that goats will eat poison oak and poison ivy. Using the goats will shorten the maintenance time needed in that area.
“After the goats eat everything down it should be almost a year before needing anything done to that area again,” said Carr.
The motion passed with a 3-2 vote.
“I am thankful and happy for the council voting yes and it will be a great attraction for visitors and residents this spring,” said Carr.