Friday, July 21, 2006

Lions and Fires and Floods ..Oh My!

When hiking into Sabino Canyon, as you enter the canyon itself you come to the crest of a hill. At that point there are two yellow warning signs. The first says "Danger! High Mountain Lion Activity - Enter At Your Own Risk" and the second says "Caution- Recent Fire-Flash Flood Hazard".

This must be daunting to the average tourist. There is a history behind these signs though. Last spring there were mountain lion sightings in and near the canyon (which leads up into a wilderness area). A few people felt they had been actually stalked by the lions. So the Forest Service closed the canyon and decided to live trap and move the lions out of the area. And an environmental group decided to oppose that by interfering with attempts to find and trap the animals. For a while there were trappers, environmentalists and possibly a few curious lions all hiking around in the canyon. However in the end no lions were found and the canyon was reopened.

There was quite a bit of controversy about the whole situation at the time. We want wild animals in wild areas but we're not really comfortable with the notion that they might stalk and eat us. On the other hand, the Forest Service's expressed concern and explanation for closing the canyon and trying to trap the lions, was that if a lion injured or killed someone, they might get sued. Hence the sign. Now if a lion bags a tourist, the Forrest Service can now say, hey we warned you!

5 Comments:

Blogger edwin s said...

Great post Louz! Okay, I'll keep a lookout for the lions. If they 'bag' me, well, hey! I didn't read the sign did I?

3:17 AM  
Blogger Mile Stones said...

Well, we go on living & learning on our virtual travels around the world. I didn't even imagine there could be mountain lions in Arizona.

I thought the nearest were the stone kind that Luggi posted from an LA frontgarden the other day!

And Edwin, good, responsible attitude! You don't subscribe to the litigation culture then?

3:39 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

This is so interesting. It's happening in more and more places as city limits encroach more and more on mountain lion territory. Several California towns have this problem. . .in one, a lion attacked a school child on a class outing in a park. The collision of two worlds . . .
-Kim

3:42 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Interesting post, interesting comments. My opinion is lengthy, meandering and mostly boring, but it ends with the crazy notion that many people want to live in a rugged outdoor world but only encased in bubble wrap. *shakes head*

Anywho...The mountains look beautiful!

4:36 PM  
Blogger Louz said...

When all of that was going on last year I had pretty mixed feelings. Nobody wants to see kids in danger from them but on the other hand, live trapping and relocating is not a good solution. It makes me sad and sometimes angry that people want to live near pretty wild places but they want the Walt Disney sanitized version. It is indeed the collision of two worlds and we keep shrinking theirs and then get worried when they won't stay inside park and wilderness boundries.

Despite being hunted, especially by cattle ranchers, there are still cougars found over most of the US. This is interesting re mountain lion attacks. http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/lion_attacks.html

10:38 PM  

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