Black Bears & Mountain Lions
There are no grizzly bears in the preserve, but there are black bears and mountains lions. Mountain lions are an important part of the preserve ecosystem, helping to keep elk, deer and other prey populations in check, while bears are infamous omnivores which rarely kill animals of any great size for food. Although mountain lion attacks are rare and bear attacks are even more rare, they are possible, as is injury from any wild animal. We offer the following recommendations to increase your safety:
- Avoid storing food and coolers in your vehicle. If you must, store food in airtight containers in the trunk or out of sight. Close vehicle windows completely.
- Do not store food in tents or pop-up campers, or in vehicles at trailheads.
- Food, coolers, and dirty cookware left unattended, even for a short time, are subject to confiscation by park rangers; citations may be issued.
- All coolers, even those considered bear proof (such as Yeti) must be stored or secured when the site is unoccupied or unattended.
- Dispose of garbage in bear-resistant dumpsters and trash cans.
- Human-fed bears usually end up as chronic problems and need to be removed - A fed bear is a dead bear.
- In the backcountry, pack out all garbage.
- Never try to retrieve anything from a bear. Report all bear incidents to a park ranger.
- Avoid walking alone.
- Watch children closely and never let them run ahead or lag behind on the trail. Talk to children about lions and bears and teach them what to do if they meet one.
What should you do if you meet a Mountain Lion?
Never approach a mountain lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation. Always give them a way to escape. Don't run. Stay calm. Hold your ground or back away slowly. Face the lion and stand upright. Do all you can to appear larger. Grab a stick. Raise your arms. If you have small children with you, pick them up. If the lion behaves aggressively, wave your arms, shout and throw objects at it. The goal is to convince it that you are not prey and may be dangerous yourself. If attacked, fight back! Generally, mountain lions are calm, quiet, and elusive. The chance of being attacked by a mountain lion is quite low compared to many other natural hazards. There is, for example, a far greater risk of being struck by lightning than being attacked by a mountain lion. Report all incidents to a park ranger.
What should you do if you meet a black bear?
Never approach a bear. Keep children beside you. There is more safety in numbers; it is best to travel in a close group. If a bear approaches you, stand up tall and make loud noises - shout and clap hands. When done immediately, these actions may be successful in scaring bears away. However, if attacked, fight back! Never try and retrieve anything once a bear has it. Report all incidents to a park ranger.
Plague is endemic to the preserve. This disease is transmitted by fleas from infected animals. Do not feed or approach ground squirrels, prairie dogs, or other small mammals. Symptoms of bubonic plague include swelling lymph nodes and fever, usually developing 1 to 6 days after exposure. Untreated bubonic plague is fatal in about 50 percent of the cases.
This is the lowering of the body's core temperature which can be life threatening. It can occur any time of year. Dress warm and stay dry.
This disease is spread from the feces and urine of infected rodents, especially the deer mouse. Deer mice are prevalent in the preserve, and our populations do carry the disease. To reduce your exposure to this disease, stay out of buildings and structures that are not open to the general public and do not feed any small mammals.