Deer Creek Canyon Park in Jefferson County, Colorado was recently shut down due to reports of aggressive mountain lion behavior. Lions in the park were reportedly showing no fear of humans, prompting a joint investigation that involved Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
On Tuesday, October 13, the park reopened, though officials are still warning visitors to proceed with caution. The announcement of the reopening warned visitors that mountain lion activity is still very possible and that they should be prepared for an encounter.
"Keep pets leashed, children close, and recreate in small groups if possible," wrote Jefferson County Open Space.
While mountain lion attacks on humans are rare, they can occur. Mountain lions are more likely to attack children than adults, especially when the child is separated from larger humans. This happened in Rocky Mountain National Park in the 1990s when a 10-year-old boy ran ahead from his family while hiking and was attacked. The boy died following the encounter, but from "massive asphyxiation," not wounds caused by the cat.
According to Jefferson County Open Space, if you spot a mountain lion stand your ground and don't run. Make yourself as big and loud as possible and try to create spacing between you and the cat. If attacked, always fight back. Throwing objects in the direction of the cat can also be an effective deterrent, though crouching down to collect an item to throw can trigger a pounce.