If your planning on visiting West Glacier, Montana it is probably best that to stay alert at all times. An “aggressive” mountain lion has been spotted numerous times in Upper McDonald Creek Valley near areas frequented by visitors. Rangers request all visitors stay alert and report any and every sighting to the closest National Park Service facility.
On June 26 a large group of hikers reported to the rangers that they also saw the lion matching the description only 5 feet from Upper McDonald Creek Trail, between the North McDonald Road and the horse bridge across Upper McDonald Creek. The lion unfortunately showed no signs of being frightened by the people but did not harm anyone in the group.
Another recent sighting according to a local news station occurred on June 23 on Sperry Trail near the Lake McDonald Lodge, near West Glacier. The mountain lion is said to be an adult and dark in color and was spotted by a woman and her niece. The lion was crouched near the side of the trail looking at the two, but they spoke firmly to the lion and it soon left the area.
The Rangers have given the fallowing information regarding the mountain lion:
- A glimpse of one of these magnificent cats would be a vacation highlight, but you need to take precautions to protect you and your children from an accidental encounter.
- Don’t hike alone. Make noise to avoid surprising a lion and keep children close to you at all times. If you do encounter a lion, do not run. Talk calmly, avert your gaze, stand tall, and back away. Unlike with bears, if attack seems imminent, act aggressively. Do not crouch and do not turn away. Lions may be scared away by being struck with rocks or sticks, or by being kicked or hit.
- Lions are primarily nocturnal, but they have attacked in broad daylight. They rarely prey on humans, but such behavior occasionally does occur. Children and small adults are particularly vulnerable.
- Report all mountain lion encounters immediately!
So if you are planning on hiking in West Glacier area, be careful! And never hike alone!