The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved new rules for O'Neill Regional Park that could result in reopening by late February or early March the popular recreation area where mountain lion prints were found.
County Parks Director Harold J. Krizan said that O'Neill, which has been closed since Dec. 26, can be reopened in four to six weeks with restrictions limiting public use.
The park was closed when mountain lion tracks were spotted in heavily used picnic and camping areas. Krizan said additional tracks have been found nearly daily since then. Two cougars also have been spotted in the park, he said.
The restrictions approved Tuesday by supervisors are similar to those imposed for visitors to the Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park near San Juan Capistrano after mountain lions attacked two young children there last year. The rules bar children from campgrounds and require that adults planning to camp be in parties of two or more.
Krizan said that until O'Neill park reopens, new signs warning of the danger of cougar attacks will be posted and fences erected. Krizan added that three full-time park attendants will be hired to control entrance to the park around the clock.