The Forest Service has temporarily closed a portion of a popular trail in the Catalina Mountains for public safety due to a mountain lion’s behavior.
While there was no attack, National Forest spokeswoman Heidi Schewel said there was a report that the mountain lion was acting like a wild lion. The mountain lion has been seen in daylight, doesn't appear to be afraid of humans, which is a cause for concern, she said.
In order to give the mountain lion time to move on, humans are being prohibited from entering portions of West Fork Trail until June 7. Those are the intersection of West Fork Trail and Cathedral Rock Trail (Trail No. 26) and the intersection of West Fork Trail and Sabino Rock Trail (Trail No 23).
That part of West Fork Trail is part of the Arizona Trail, and it goes past the popular destination of Hutch’s Pool.
Schewel said in a news release, “Lions are top-level predators capable of inflicting injury on humans. Do not approach them. If a lion is encountered, stay calm and speak loudly and firmly. Do not run, as it may stimulate a lion’s instinct to chase. Stand and face the animal, raise your arms or open your jacket to look large, and slowly back away.”
Mountain lion sightings should be reported to the Arizona Game and Fish Department at 628-5376, or after-hours to (800) 352-0700.