I don't typically share predator encounters when the animal isn't acting predatory, but I think it's important to mention that I walked into a cougar on the Woody Trail this evening. It was just before 5:00 and about a mile from the trailhead. It was about 10' off to the side of me (in the brush). The cat was definitely curious, but I never felt threatened. I talked to it loudly, banged my trekking poles, beat the brush with my trekking poles, and walked backwards, with the cat slowly heading uphill and away.
Anyway, the reason for sharing this is because less than 45 minutes earlier I witnessed several dogs off-leash and away from their owners, and children running out in front of their parents by a good 30-40'. Please understand that when approaching dusk, predators are going to become more active. Wallace is typically a busy place where there are plenty of people around to keep animals at bay, but once dusk starts and trails become less busy, there is a risk. This goes for any and all trails. I say this as much for keeping wildlife safe, as I do for keeping your child and pet safe. Please keep your pets leashed and children close after dusk.
The park has been made aware of my encounter. There have been cougar sightings along the DNR road and the Greg Ball Trail over the years, but it's my understanding that this is the first sighting so close to the trailhead. Please report any sightings to Ranger Kevin.