Oregon forest 3 times size of Springfield closed as officials hunt killer cougar

Wild cougar - Photo by Brian Wolfer of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

ZIGZAG, Ore. – Public land managers have closed an area larger than Eugene as wildlife officials work to track down a wild cougar believed to have killed a Gresham woman near Mount Hood late last month.

Diana Bober was last seen on August 29. She was found deceased on Monday along the Hunchback Trail after search crews located her car and backpack at the Zigzag Ranger Station.

Initial reports state she died of injuries likely caused by a wild cougar. If confirmed, it would be Oregon’s first cougar-related death to happen in the wild.

The U.S. Forest Service closed down 14 different trails and more than 29,000 acres of forest land around the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness on Thursday, citing a need for “public safety and for the safety of the state” as trackers try to capture the cougar.

That's 45 square miles, an area larger than Eugene - and 3 times the size of Springfield.

According to officials, cougars are very territorial and can have a home range averaging 123 square miles. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said they didn’t find “scent or sign” of the animal on Thursday.

“It’s very important that we started our search at the site where Diana was found,” said Brian Wolfer, ODFW watershed manager who is leading the capture effort. “The cougar wasn’t there. Tomorrow we will expand our search into a new area.”

Below is a list of the trail closures:

  • Hunchback Trail #793
  • Green Canyon Trail #793A
  • Bonanza Trail #786
  • Salmon River Trail #742
  • Salmon Butte Trail #791
  • Cool Creek Trail #794
  • Veda Lake Trail #673
  • Dry Fir Trail #674A
  • Jackpot Meadows Trail #492
  • Linney Creek Trail #499
  • Eureka Peak Trail #671
  • Kinzel Lake Trail #665
  • Old Salmon River Trail #742A
  • Boulder Ridge Trail #783A south to the Bonanza Trail #786
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