Silver Falls Bear and Cougar Census

Description | Methodology | Results


Organizer. Gabrielle Franke

Location. Silver Falls State Park (located east of Salem, Oregon).

Purpose. Assist the state park naturalist by gathering systematic information on the distribution of black bear and cougar in the park.

Participants. Volunteer trackers from Salem, Corvallis, and Portland.


On the day of the census, teams of 2-4 trackers walk designated routes, covering as much of the park as possible given the available manpower. Trackers mark the location of animal sign on a map and record key track and gait measurements following a protocol adapted from the work of James Halfpenny.

The results of each census are compiled in a summary document. The routes traveled and the location of black bear or cougar sign (plus other forest carnivore of interest) are marked on topographical maps.


Below are topographical maps summarizing the results for each census. Annotations indicate the routes covered and any sign discovered that indicates the presence of either target species.

Photo above: Gabriel ponders a puzzling bobcat gait and spotted skunk tracks.

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