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2009 Devils Tower Falcon Closures
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Partner j_ung


Mar 27, 2009, 1:19 PM
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2009 Devils Tower Falcon Closures
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This just in from the NPS:

In reply to:
Devils Tower National Monument Climbing Route Closure to Protect Prairie Falcons

To protect prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus) nesting sites, the National Park Service (NPS) will temporarily close climbing routes along the south face of Devils Tower beginning March 15, 2009. This closure is an annual event established under the monument's 1995 Climbing Management Plan, with authority from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The areas to be closed include climbing routes on the south face between and including the “P.O.T.C.” and “Waterfall” (routes #206-208, #1-21 in the Devils Tower climbing handbook). The “Durrance,” “Bailey Direct,” “Bowling Alley,” and “Meadows” rappel routes are also closed. The south edge of the Tower summit is closed to climbers with the exception of the “Summit South” rappel. Alternate south-face rappel routes from the meadows are “Bon Homme” and “El Cracko,” which remain open. Climbing and rappel route closures may change based on the location and behavior of the nesting falcons.

More than 190 other climbing routes on the Tower remain open, including the standard meadow finish to the summit for other routes that terminate in the “Meadows.” Climbers can find a list of currently closed routes at http://www.nps.gov/...climbingclosures.htm, the park climbing kiosk, the climber registration office, or at the visitor center or administration building.

NPS professionals will survey the Tower to determine the presence or absence of nesting prairie falcons. Areas without nesting falcons will be reopened by May 15. Areas with falcon nests will remain closed until young falcons fledge, generally between July 15 and August 1. The closure areas may change based on the location of nesting pairs.

Prairie falcons are extremely defensive of their nests and are easily driven from an area. The presence of climbers near or above falcon nests is distressing to parent birds. Too much disturbance from climbing activities may force falcons to abandon eggs or chicks. The closure is implemented not only for the protection of the birds, but also for the protection of climbers, as prairie falcons are known to defensively dive in order to protect their nests.

Prior observations suggest prairie falcons use the Tower with an affinity for the west and northeast faces, where pairs nested from 2005 to 2007. In 2008, the falcons were observed nesting on the south face of the Tower. In recent years, young falcons were observed to have fledged from nests on the Tower in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2006, and 2007.

Separate from the falcon closure, Devils Tower National Monument has a voluntary climbing closure in effect for the month of June, out of respect for American Indian cultural traditions. For further information on the climbing closures, please contact the monument’s chief of resource management, Mark Biel, at (307) 467-5283 ext 212.

Edit to add clicky. Smile


(This post was edited by j_ung on Mar 27, 2009, 1:19 PM)


iching


Apr 2, 2009, 10:31 PM
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Re: [j_ung] 2009 Devils Tower Falcon Closures [In reply to]
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Wouldn't a more appropriate closure statement be worded that the closure would be lifted two weeks after the young have fledged (sometime between June 15 and July 15)?


Partner j_ung


May 18, 2009, 12:32 PM
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Re: [iching] 2009 Devils Tower Falcon Closures [In reply to]
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2009 closures are lifted. Here's the latest release:

In reply to:
Devils Tower National Monument Lifts Current Prairie Falcon Climbing Route Closure

To protect prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus) nesting sites, the National Park Service (NPS) temporarily closed climbing routes along the south face of Devils Tower beginning March 15, 2009. This closure is an annual event established under the monument's 1995 Climbing Management Plan, with authority from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. NPS professionals have been surveying the Tower to determine the presence or absence of nesting prairie falcons. To date, the surveys have documented falcons flying around the Tower, but no nesting activity has been observed. As per approved policy, areas without nesting falcons are to be reopened by May 15. Because no falcon nesting activity has been observed to date, the prairie falcon nesting closures currently in effect will be removed on Friday, May 15, thus opening these areas to normal recreational climbing activities. The areas to be reopened include climbing routes on the south face between and including the “P.O.T.C.” and “Waterfall” (routes #206-208, #1-21 in the Devils Tower Climbing Handbook).

NPS professionals will continue to survey the Tower to determine the presence or absence of nesting prairie falcons, and climbing and rappel route closures may change in the future based on the location and behavior of nesting falcons. Any areas closed due to nesting falcons will remain closed until young falcons fledge, generally between July 15 and August 1. Updated information on climbing access can be obtained at the climber registration office, the park climbing kiosk, or at the park visitor center or administration building.

These annual closures are implemented not only for the protection of the birds, but also for the protection of climbers, as prairie falcons are known to defensively dive in order to protect their nests. Prairie falcons are extremely protective of their nests and are easily driven from an area. The presence of climbers near or above falcon nests is distressing to parent birds; too much disturbance from climbing activities may cause falcons to abandon eggs or chicks.

Separate from the falcon closure, Devils Tower National Monument has a voluntary climbing closure in effect for the month of June, out of respect for American Indian cultural traditions. For further information on climbing closures, please contact the monument’s Chief of Resource Management, Mark Biel, at (307) 467-5283 ext 212.


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