This is Cougar Country… LITERALLY!

By: Cindy Stover

Cindy Stover in Cougar Country

Indian Creek CampgroundOver the Labor Day weekend my husband and I, along with family and friends, had gone camping at Priest Lake, Idaho, more specifically Indian Creek Campground. This campground is on the eastern shore of Priest Lake in the Selkirk Mountains about 30 miles from the Canada – US border. Some of you might be familiar with this very popular campground. It has all the amenities you need, such as running water, showers, and REAL toilets! You also have access to all water sports, as well as mountain adventures.

Anyhow, last year Designer Decal had produced some information signs regarding cougars for this state park. They were posted along a trail, which I hiked up to see our signs in action. After finding the signs, I asked Fred Ramsey from Re-Creation Unlimited, who has served in the park for the past 30 years, how these signs came about. Here is his response to me:

“We have cougars —the real kind.  Two more sightings reported by campers yesterday here in the campground.  So—

The signs.  COUGAR LOOP TRAIL was my wife Lavon’s idea.  She had the first sighting of a cougar up beyond the Viewpoint monument sign at the lake overlook.  As a result, she wanted Park guests to have both a positive attitude toward this wonderful native of the Selkirk Mountains AND a “situation awareness” as to what to watch for; what to do if met; the majesty of this North America cat; and, an adventure to be shared by a whole family.

The Loop portion of the trail is approximately 1/2 mile long.  It is a “loop” because people do not like to back-track.  Postings were done in locations that were most like the photo-print, four-color signs.  The spacing is to give timely rest stops for children as well as older hikers on the trail. We sometimes use the “Loop” as a nature contest with prizes for the top winner in answering the multi-choice interpretive signage.  We have hosted up to 24 persons at a time on the trail.  It makes a great Junior Ranger outing as part of our natural history interpretation.

Shared adventure is the glue of friendship (and, family memory-making).”

Cindy-Indian-Creek-Campground

Fred and I were also able to go 4-wheeling on some great trails up in the mountains, as well as kayak on the lake. I believe that a weekend getaway, or mini vacation, is what everyone needs to get refreshed and see the beauty of the great outdoors. It is amazing what a little stress reduction does for you!

If you want to learn more about cougars, please visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/living/cougars.html

If you want to learn more about Re-Creation Unlimited, please visit www.re-creationonline.org.

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