The United States Forest Service has announced a partial closure of the Peaks Crag climbing area in the Coconino National Forest in Flagstaff from March 15 to August 15, 2022, although the closure may end sooner if young falcons fly away.
The partial closure is to protect a peregrine falcon nest by limiting climbing and other activities in the area that could disturb the nest.
Peregrine Falcons were once listed under the Endangered Species Act. They continue to be managed as Sensitive Forest Service species and State Concern species.
Closure takes place every year to allow the nest to give birth to its young or grow them to the point of flight.
“Now they’re a species of concern. They’re getting better, and we’re monitoring that over time. It might be something that wouldn’t be a long-term thing. Once they start getting better, we can lift these orders permanently,” said Jamieson Arnold, wildlife team leader, Coconino National Forest.
The closure limits access to the Peaks Crag area to Forest Road 522 or Freidlein Prairie Road, north of the nesting site.
Peaks Crag is slowly becoming a more popular rock climbing site, thanks in part to the Falcon’s Nest. However, other popular climbing areas include “The Pit” and “Highline”, both found in Flagstaff.
Violating the shutdown is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor and can result in fines of up to $5,000 for individuals or $10,000 for organizations, and even up to six months in jail.
Maps of closed areas are posted at the kiosk at Forest Road 522, but can also be viewed online here.
Contact breaking news reporter Adam Terro at [email protected]
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