This spring, joggers on the American River Parkway trail have had more to worry about than daredevil cyclists or wandering dogs on extended leashes. Try a mountain lion sighting.
Sacramento County rangers in March posted signs on a two-mile stretch of the trail between the Sunrise Bridge and Nimbus Fish Hatchery warning that mountain lions had been spotted in the area.
After a thorough investigation, the signs now have been removed. Steve Flannery, the county's chief ranger, said he seriously doubts mountain lions lived in that area, bordered by Gold River. "But we like to take precautions and warn people as promptly as we can," Flannery said.
Flannery said the sightings were reported by workers at a security company that patrols Gold River.
"We were skeptical, because there's very limited habitat over on that stretch of the parkway," Flannery said. "That's not a very good hunting (area) for a lion."
Flannery says that twice in the past 10 years the Department of Fish and Game has verified sightings of mountain lions - but no "incidents," meaning direct contact with humans - on the county stretch of the parkway.
-- Sam McManis