Mountain lion reportedly spotted just outside Park City Cemetery |

Mountain lion reportedly spotted just outside Park City Cemetery

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

Someone reported seeing a mountain lion just outside the Park City Cemetery on Friday, the Park City Police Department said, a case that comes within a few weeks of other sightings in the Park City area.

The police received the report at just after 10 a.m. The person was on the 1300 block of Kearns Boulevard and told the police they saw the mountain lion on the ridge just above the cemetery. Public police logs did not provide additional details, and further information about the call was not immediately available.

A state wildlife official said he doubted that the person who called the police saw a mountain lion. Bruce Johnson, the Division of Wildlife Resources officer assigned to Summit County, said the location close to the cemetery is an unusual place for a mountain lion to be seen, explaining that the animals typically avoid humans. The ridge where the person said the mountain lion was seen is located a short distance from busy Kearns Boulevard. It is also close to the Snow Creek shopping area.

"They don’t want to be seen. They don’t want to be encountered by the public," Johnson said.

Wildlife officials have long maintained that many purported sightings of mountain lions are cases of mistaken identity. The person who makes the report sometimes instead has seen dogs in the distance or bobcats, the wildlife officials say.

But the Friday sighting was reported shortly after people in Round Valley reported seeing a mountain lion. Those sightings started in late February, and the leader of Mountain Trails Foundation, a not for-profit dedicated to expanding the trails network, has said approximately six people have filed reports about sightings in Round Valley.

Round Valley is an expansive area of undeveloped land that borders Park Meadows. It is situated within a few miles, at most, from the sighting on Kearns Boulevard.

In another case reported to the Police Department, this one on Saturday, someone on Golden Eagle Drive, a small street off Royal Street between Snow Park Lodge and Silver Lake Village, said they discovered a raccoon that had been "shredded," according to police logs. The police were told someone might have seen a mountain lion nearby.

Johnson said there was not evidence suggesting a mountain lion was in the vicinity. Johnson said a mountain lion did not appear to have killed the raccoon.

Paw tracks found nearby did not match a mountain lion, he said. One of the tracks was that of a canine, leading Johnson to speculate it was a pet dog or a coyote that killed the raccoon. Bobcats also attack raccoons, he said.

Mountain lion sightings are occasionally reported in and around Park City, and they have long been known to populate the area. They follow prey — primarily deer and elk — from higher elevations to lower ones in the winter.