Ramapo’s reservation closes after coyote attack

Photo by Astrid Gamarra

The Ramapo Valley County Reservation in Mahwah will remain closed this week after a woman and a dog were injured on Saturday in separate coyote attacks, authorities said. 

A message on the Reservation’s website advised residents and visitors to avoid hiking until the reservation is deemed ready to reopen and recommended that residents should keep their pets indoors.

It continues, “Until such time please enjoy the many other parks and recreation throughout the county.”

The unidentified woman and dog were attacked hours apart on Saturday, according to officials. Following the attacks, authorities shut down the county park for the duration of the day, NorthJersey.com reported.

It is not known if the same coyote is responsible for the two attacks. NorthJersey.com reported that Bergen County parks employees are still searching for the coyote, which is believed to be rabid, according to officials at the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife. 

Coyotes typically hunt rabbits and rodents for food, but garbage, domestic pets and pet food that are left unattended can attract coyotes, according to the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife. 

Ramapo Valley County Reservation is Bergen County's largest park area and is located on the edge of the Highlands Region. With the addition of three campsites, the park has grown to over 4,000 acres. 

Many Ramapo students frequent the Ramapo Reservation, which is less than a mile away from campus, for outdoor activities like hiking and running. Following the attacks, students said they will be more cautious when visiting the Reservation. 

“We’ve always been aware that there’s a danger when going there at night, but knowing there have been coyote attacks just adds to it,” freshman Kat Nekrassova said. 

Junior Pratistha Adhikari said she enjoys visiting the Reservation with her friends and roommates. Taking more caution, she plans to visit the reservation with larger groups of friends and strives to visit only during the daytime. 

“We used to go in the evenings as well before,” Adhikari said, adding that the recent coyote attacks and bear alerts from Public Safety have prompted her to take extra caution when walking on-campus. 

According to safety tips released by the state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, if encountering a coyote, be as big and loud as possible and do not run or turn your back to them. Small pets should not be left outside and if you spot a coyote, call 9-1-1 immediately.