Zion National Park closes 13 climbing routes to protect nesting falcons

Zion National Park closes 13 climbing routes to protect nesting falcons

(Urias Takatohi via Google Maps)

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ZION NATIONAL PARK — Zion National Park officials have closed 13 different climbing routes in the park to protect nesting peregrine falcons throughout the area.

The routes were closed Wednesday and will remain closed while park wildlife biologists determine the birds' nesting locations. Cliffs that don’t shelter nest sites this year will reopen some time by late April or early May. Cliffs with nests will remain closed until the falcon chicks fledge, which usually happens in late July.

According to Zion National Park officials, the 13 routes include:

Peregrine falcons are recently in recovery from “endangered species” status and Zion National Park is home to a high number of breeding sites. The birds of prey were listed as endangered in 1970, partially due to the effects of an insecticide called DDT that caused the falcons to produce thin-shelled eggs that broke easily and killed the embryo inside.

Once the U.S. banned DDT in 1972, the falcons made a comeback and were removed from the “endangered species” list in 1999.

Zion National Park will post updated information about the climbing route closures here.

Liesl is a reporter at KSL.com, section editor of KSL Tech and a student at Brigham Young University. You can email her at lnielsen@ksl.com and follow her on Twitter at @liesl_nielsen.

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