A mountain lion seen on the trails of Wawayanda

| 29 Sep 2011 | 10:32

    I’m an avid mountain biker and have been peddling the trails of Wawayanda for over 12 years now. On an average ride it is not uncommon to see deer, turkey, bear, bobcat, etc., but not common is what I saw on a Thursday evening ride this September. I was cruising, very fast, down Turkey trail just before it intersects with Cabin trail on the Vernon side of the park. As I biked down this trail I spooked something out from the side of the trail, it jumped out and started running away down the trail about 40 feet in front of me — a big cat, tan in color, long tail and fast. After about three seconds of following it, I realized it was a mountain lion. I know what bobcats and coyote look like and it was neither of those. I guess it didn’t quite like that I was following it, nor that I was going really fast. In the blink of an eye the cat seemed to downshift and disappeared as fast as it appeared. I contacted the State Ranger station the next day to report that I had seen a mountain lion in the park. The ranger indicated that they have had several sightings and that one of their rangers had also seen a mountain lion in this area of the park. I plan to keep riding in the park and feel lucky that I got an opportunity to see such an elusive animal. John Orecchio Hewitt, N.J.