• Looking out at the lake

    Sleeping Bear Dunes

    National Lakeshore Michigan

Cougar Safety

Over the past few years, there have been several cougar sightings reported in the area in and around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. In 2004-2005, a study was conducted with motion-sensitive cameras and track identification techniques, but no evidence of cougar was obtained. If you see a cougar, please report it to Park Rangers, and if at all possible, obtain some evidence. A photograph is best, but if you spot some tracks, mark them and get a Park Ranger so they can confirm the animal that made it.

To see a cougar can be a thrilling experience, but these animals deserve your respect! While you are unlikely to see a cougar, it is wise to know how to behave if you do encounter one. Cougars are tawny-colored with black tipped ears and tail. Adults are 5-8 feet long from nose to the end of its long tail.

If you encounter a cougar:

  • Remain calm - DO NOT RUN.
  • Pick up small children immediately.
  • Stand up and spread your arms to make yourself look big.
  • Maintain eye contact, and back away slowly.
  • If approached, wave your arms, shout, and throw sticks or rocks.
  • If attacked, fight back aggressively.
  • Do not approach a cougar.

Please consider these precautions when hiking.

  • Keep your dog on a leash.
  • Keep children next to you.
  • Travel in groups whenever possible.

Please report any encounter to the National Park Service by calling 231-326-4700.

The cougar is a state-listed endangered species fully protected by law.

Did You Know?