Decision Made on Sabino Canyon Mountain Lions - Tucson News Now

Decision Made on Sabino Canyon Mountain Lions

Posted: 3/9/04

Coronado National Forest officials are temporarily closing Sabino Canyon Recreation area to allow professional animal trackers to search for mountain lions that have lost their fear of humans.


"I have decided to instill the closure to aid the Arizona Game and Fish Department in their search for mountain lions that pose a potentially lethal threat to people in the canyon," said Larry Raley, Santa Catalina District Ranger in charge of the popular national forest recreation area northwest of Tucson .


The closed area is bounded by the Forest Service boundary in the southern end of the Santa Catalina Ranger District; Ventana Canyon Trail on the western side; the West Fork and East Forks of Sabino Creek on the northern side and the Mt. Lemmon Highway on the east side. 


Since February 2004, professional trackers have discovered the presence of at least three and perhaps four mountain lions in the area that receives more than one million visitors each year.  The height of the visitor season is January through April when it is not uncommon for more than 200 people to visit Sabino and Bear Canyons daily.


Visitors are asked to modify their routes to avoid the area but stressed that people be aware of their surroundings as sightings of mountain lions in nearby residential neighborhoods have been reporter.  Mountain lion sighting s should be reported immediately to the Arizona Game and Fish Department at 520-628-5376 or to the Forest Service at 520-749-7703.  Include the date, time, location, physical description and actions of animals.


Stay tuned to KOLD News 13 for complete coverage of this story

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