Although mountain lions are officially declared extinct in the Northeast, reported sightings have sharply increased in the region in recent years. And some experts say mountain lions will eventually return to the area, according to an article on

“It’s just a matter of time,” says Cougar Network co-founder Ken Miller.

Last month, a town official in Massachusetts’ Berkshire region reported seeing a mountain lion. Since then, locals have shared numerous stories of having seen mountain lions in the region over the years.

While officials say that seeing a mountain lion in the region is extremely unlikely, some do make the long trek east. In 2011, a mountain lion was struck by a car and killed in Connecticut. Genetic tests later showed the animal had traveled from South Dakota.

Of course, if mountain lions do return to the region, how would hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts feel about sharing the backcountry with “America’s lion?”

Read more about what it will take for mountain lions to return to the Northeast.