Cougars and bears on Ridgeline Trail: 'I actually ran with a stick'

Cougars and bears on Ridgeline Trail: 'I actually ran with a stick'

EUGENE, Ore. - On a solo run along the Ridgeline Trail, Kirsten Bartlett recalls seeing a sign that a cougar had been seen in the area a day earlier.

"I actually ran with a big stick," Bartlett told KVAL News on Tuesday. "I've heard you can throw them and it scares the cougars."

More permanent signs now warn trail users that both cougars and bears may be active on the Ridgeline Trail. The signs, in both English and Spanish, also offer tips on what to do if you encounter a cougar or bear.

Trail users are also asked to report all sightings to the City of Eugene at (541) 682-4800 or the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife at (541) 726-3515.

"My friends might think I'm just paranoid, but there are a lot of cougar sightings," said Bartlett, who was headed down the Amazon Headwaters trail segment between Fox Hollow Road and Martins Way with Christie Hanson.

"I'd like to think my dog would sacrifice herself for me," Hanson said.

At the west end of the trail system on Blanton Road, Phil Siemens said he isn't worried.

"That cougar's been here for years," he said. It takes deer. You see the carcasses. That's it.

"They know better than to show themselves," Siemens added.

As for bears, he doesn't see any cause for alarm.

"Aren't there bears everywhere?"