UPDATE: According to Jefferson County Open Space, Deer Creek Canyon Park and Black Bear Trail have reopened. Mountain lion activity remains possible. Keep children close and keep pets leashed.
A mountain lion is the last thing any hiker in Colorado wants to see while on the trail – especially an aggressive one.
According to Jefferson County Open Space, Deer Creek Canyon Park has been closed until further notice due to an ongoing investigation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. The closure was put in place after hikers reported spotting a mountain lion on the trail that showed no fear toward humans.
Mountain lion activity reported at Deer Creek Canyon Park. Be aware of your surroundings & leash your dog. If you see a mountain lion:— Jeffco Open Space (@JeffcoOpenSpace) September 28, 2020
-Stop, face the lion, make yourself big, & shout
-Back away slowly
-Fight back if attacked
-Report wildlife interactions https://t.co/tQNEQt4Jdv
CBS4 in Denver reports that this close encounter was not the first of its type in the area.
While no humans have been injured, FOX31 reports that the closure was put in place as a preventative safety measure while the situation is further investigated.
Generally, mountain lions are rarely seen by humans and when they are spotted, the quickly flee the scene. However, the bolder a lion gets, the more likely the animal is to consider a person as prey. This can be particularly dangerous for children and pets.
If a hiker encounters a lion, they should not run as this can trigger a chase response and lead to an attack. The hiker should also not crouch down as this can make them appear more vulnerable. Instead, the hiker should stand their ground (eventually slowly backing away while watching the lion) and try to scare the lion off by appearing large, making noise, and throwing items in the direction of the animal. If a hiker is attacked, they should fight back.