Famous goats of Goat Island at Murrells Inlet Marshwalk will not return this season

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 10:20 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 7:25 PM EST
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MURRELLS INLET, S.C. (WMBF) – The famous inhabitants of Goat Island at the Marshwalk in Murrells Inlet will not be back this upcoming season.

Because of the heavy damage and erosion that Goat Island suffered during Hurricane Ian, there is not enough land for the goats to safely roam.

In October, Drunken Jacks announced the goats would not return from their winter home in Osprey for the season.

“The island suffered extreme erosion and their shelter was destroyed so the decision was made not to return them until the spring to allow adequate time for repairs to be done,” Al Hitchcock, who owns the goats and Drunken Jacks restaurant said in October.

Since then, the portion has worsened, Hitchcock wrote in a statement.

“We have been observing the island during the daily high tides and there is just not enough land for the goats to safely roam. Of course, this will be even worse when we endure the King Tides that are in the forecast this year.

“We have been faced with the question; do we bring the goats back? If we did we would have to evacuate the goats several times for their safety during the season due to king tides or major weather events. Relocating the goats on and off the island is stressful for them. Our main concern is their safety and not to traumatize them. So, for this reason, we can not consciously bring them back to the island in its current state.”

Hitchcock said they are researching environmentally responsible solutions to restore the island in hopes the goats may one day return.