Saturday, July 4, 2020

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Moab, UT

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    BLM urges climbers to avoid areas in Indian Creek

    Guidelines aim to protect raptor nests

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    The Bureau of Land Management Monticello Field Office has completed the first phase of raptor nest surveys in the Indian Creek area and has revised the 2020 avoidance areas.

    A rock climber scales a sandstone wall at Bears Ears National Monument.
    A rock climber scales a sandstone wall at Bears Ears National Monument. Photo courtesy BLM/Wikimedia Commons

    Each spring raptors return to the Indian Creek area for nesting. Eagles, falcons, and other migratory birds use shallow depressions on ledges, cliffs, and rock walls, often returning to the same site to raise their young. The BLM requests climbers and hikers continue to avoid certain nest areas during critical nesting periods from early March through late July. Avoiding climbing and hiking in the vicinity of nest sites and maintaining a safe viewing distance will help ensure survival of young birds. These species continue to recover from low population levels.

      The BLM asks climbers and hikers to avoid walls commonly referenced in climbing guides and on the web as The Wall, Reservoir Wall, Cat Wall, and the multiple Meat Walls. Over a thousand climbing routes remain available, are anticipated to be free of active nests, and can be approached without risk of endangering young birds or successful fledglings. If visitors to these sites observe raptors mating or nesting, the BLM asked them to avoid the nest and birds and report the location.

      BLM biologists will continue monitoring efforts throughout the 2020 season, and the BLM will notify the public once young birds have fledged. Trailhead notices and maps will be updated when the avoidance areas are lifted. The BLM expects the avoidance areas to be lifted prior to the beginning of the fall climbing season.

      For questions about raptors and migratory bird habitat or recreational climbing in the Indian Creek area, contact Thomas Plank, wildlife biologist, or Jason Byrd, recreation planner, at the BLM Monticello Field Office at 435-587-1500. 

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