LAKE FOREST (CBSLA) – The presence of mountain lions forced park officials Friday to close a large wilderness area near Lake Forest.

The Orange County Parks Department reported that Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park was closed until further notice due to mountain lion activity.

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FILE — P-61, a male mountain lion, discovered in October 2017 on the east end of the Santa Monica Mountains. (National Park Service)

“The park is closed out of an abundance of caution following multiple mountain lion sightings by park visitors and staff,” the department tweeted.

One hiker reported that a mountain lion got within six feet and “stood its ground,” the department said.

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Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park encompasses 2,500 acres and has 17 miles of trails and graded roads.

The California Fish and Game Commission in April unanimously voted to move forward with a process that would culminate with declaring mountain lions that roam Southern California and the Central Coast as an endangered species.

Mountain lion populations in Southern California have become increasingly threatened by residential development, habitat loss, wildfires, rat poisons, inbreeding and isolation.

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Researchers say mountain lion populations in the Santa Monica and Santa Ana mountains could go extinct within the next 50 years. To help combat this, the California Department of Transportation is working on a plan to build an $87 million wildlife crossing along the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills.