NPS credit_Zion Climbing Coalition Volunteers helping locate falcon nests

Zion National Park

Zion National Park closes off climbing locations at 12 cliffs for seasonal nesting period

By Carter Williams, | Posted - Mar. 2, 2021 at 4:16 p.m.

SPRINGDALE, Washington County — A seasonal closure of dozen cliffs in Zion National Park began Monday in time for seasonal nesting for peregrine falcons, park officials said.

The areas where canyons were closed to climbing are:

  • Angels Landing
  • Cable Mountain
  • The Great White Throne
  • Isaac (in the Court of Patriarchs)
  • The Sentinel
  • Mountain of the Sun
  • North Twin Brother
  • Tunnel Wall
  • The East Temple
  • Mount Spry
  • The Streaked Wall
  • Mount Kinesava

Other canyons no listed remain open.

Peregrine falcons, which often make nests in areas around the park, are considered to be most sensitive during the nesting season. Park officials said falcons may abandon their nests for the year if their nests are disturbed, which is why rangers close off certain cliffs.

Similar closures are typically made for California condors, park officials wrote in the 2021 guide about the park's seasonal closures.

"Because the needs of sensitive peregrine falcons and California condors are prioritized, limited areas of Zion are closed annually to climbers in the spring to allow raptors to nest," the document stated. "These closures are in areas that have historically been used as nest sites and are the most likely areas for human-wildlife conflict. Specific closure boundaries are designed based on our best understanding of raptor nesting behavior using the most current science."

The closure of certain cliffs is expected to remain in place until at least late April or early May. If biologists find active nesting sites, closures may last through the end of July, which is about the time most raptor chicks fledge. The closure guide stated that any closures for California condors could last longer because they fledge a little later than other birds.

Park officials urged anyone seeking to climb Zion National Park to visit the park's climbing website to review which canyons or routes are open and which ones are closed.

The Bureau of Land Management implemented "avoidance areas" in an area near Blanding within southeastern Utah that went into effect Monday for the same reason for other raptor species. The agency asked people to avoid 11 climbing routes in the Indian Creek Climbing area until it's determined raptor nests aren't active in closed-off locations.

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