All Indian Creek climbing walls open

A climber makes his way up a wall at Indian Creek. Photo courtesy of jfdervin/Wikimedia Commons

The Bureau of Land Management in a press release announcing that all the climbing walls at Indian Creek are open, thanked the climbing community for its efforts to avoid raptor nesting sites during the past nesting season.

In February, the BLM asked climbers to voluntarily avoid climbing routes near historic nest sites in the Indian Creek climbing area. Minimizing disturbance during crucial egg incubation and brood-rearing periods for peregrine falcons, eagles, and other raptors is critical to successfully rearing young. A BLM wildlife biologist monitored active nests weekly throughout the season. At mid-season the BLM cleared several walls for climbing where the agency confirmed no nesting activity. Through continued monitoring, the BLM determined at least two peregrine falcon pairs reared chicks and they have successfully fledged.

“Cooperative stewardship efforts of public land managers, biologists, ranchers and farmers, wildlife conservationists and recreationists helped remove peregrines from the Federal Endangered Species list in 1999,” said Lisa Bryant, Canyon Country spokesperson. “Thanks to these continued cooperative efforts, falcon, eagle and hawk populations continue to rebound and raptors often grace the cliffs and skies of southeastern Utah.”

Peregrine falcons are remarkable birds that nest and hunt in the cliffs surrounding Indian Creek. They can fly up to 70 mph and reach up to 200 mph in free fall dives. However, despite their speed and agility, 50 years ago these birds were in danger and their population levels were very low, BLM officials said. “Being a good steward means respecting wildlife and maintaining a safe viewing distance. Voluntarily avoiding climbing routes with historical and active nests during the nesting season helps protect raptors and reduces the need for mandatory restrictions,” said a BLM statement.

For questions about raptors, contact BLM Wildlife Biologist Thomas Plank. For questions about climbing and recreation in the Indian Creek area, contact BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Jason Byrd. Both may be reached at the Monticello Field Office at 435-587-1500.