Climbing routes on the northeast face of Devils Tower have been temporarily closed to protect nesting peregrine and prairie falcons. The closure is implemented to provide the falcons with an undisturbed nesting location during this critical courtship and nest-selection period, and is an annual occurrence at Devils Tower. 45 climbing routes are affected by the closure, between “Belle Fourche Buttress,” and “Psychic Turbulence.” Over one hundred climbing routes remain open.
“The closure is implemented not only to protect the birds, but to protect climbers, as falcons are known to defensively dive in order to protect their nests,” said Tim Reid, Superintendent. “The presence of climbers near or above falcon nests can be distressing to parent birds and disturbance from climbing activities may force falcons to abandon eggs or chicks.” Climbers are asked to report any defensive falcon behavior to park staff. Park biologists will monitor falcon activity, and the closure area may be moved, extended or rescinded at an earlier date depending on nesting and fledgling activity.
Climbing routes will remain closed until the young falcons fledge and are no longer dependent on the nest location. Peregrine falcons have successfully nested on the Tower for the last three seasons, and have used a different face of the formation each year.
“The closure will be strictly enforced. All climbers are required to register at the Climbing Registration Office or kiosk before beginning their ascent,” said Drew Gilmour, Chief Ranger.
A complete and regularly updated list of closed routes can be found on the park’s website. To learn more about Devils Tower National Monument visit www.nps.gov/deto or www.facebook.com/Devils-Tower-National-Monument-Official-NPS-Site or twitter.com@DevilsTowerNM or Instagram at #devilstowernps
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