Whiting Ranch Park Users on Heightened Alert for Mountain Lions

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Cyclists on trail in Orange County’s Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park

The face of a mountain lion — its eyes narrowed, jaw firmly set — greets every hiker and mountain biker who arrives at the trail head to Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.

“Mountain lion in this area,” the poster reads, simply.

Here on the edge of suburban Orange County where the housing tracts give way to oak-studded hillsides and shoulder-high brush, plenty of day trekkers greeted the warning with a shrug on a recent weekday. But for some, one memory persists as a reminder of the dangers that lurk in the picturesque backcountry.

“I ride with a friend at all times because of what happened to Mark Reynolds 10 years ago,” said Kevin Gaffney, 43, of Seal Beach. “It woke a lot of us up.”

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