After successful peregrine nesting season, Zion opens climbing routes

Composite photo | Falcon by Tom Becker and courtesy of Division of Wildlife Resources, Zion National Park photo by and courtesy of Seth Hamel, St. George News

SPRINGDALE — After initiating climbing route closures in Zion National Park at the beginning of March to protect peregrine falcon nesting areas, park officials recently announced that the routes have been re-opened.

The following climbing routes were closed March 1, 2017: trails leading to Angels Landing, Cable Mountain, The Great White Throne (beyond single and double-pitched climbs), Isaac within the Court of the Patriarchs, The Sentinel, Mountain of the Sun, North Twin Brother, Tunnel Wall, The East Temple, Mount Spry, The Streaked Wall, Mount Kinesava and the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek.

The cliffs of Zion National Park are home to a high concentration of breeding peregrine falcons each spring and summer.

During the 2017 nesting period, park wildlife biologists monitored the bird’s activity and found five different territories were occupied by pairs of adults, according to the park statement. Six juveniles successfully fledged, including two on the tunnel wall, two on Mount Kinesava, one on Cable Mountain and one on Mount Isaac.

“Peregrines are amazing fliers who catch birds and occasionally bats in mid air,” Cassity Bromley, chief of resource management said. “These magnificent birds of prey were listed as an endangered species in 1970 under the Endangered Species Act. Following the United States ban on DDT and captive breeding efforts, peregrine numbers rebounded, and they were removed from the endangered species list in 1999.”

Zion National Park has been, and continues to be, an important sanctuary for peregrines and many other wildlife species.

In the park statement, officials thanked the climbing community for their cooperation through the 2017 breeding season and saying that they appreciates the climbers’ assistance in helping to protecting the park’s wildlife resources.

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