Some temporary trail closures have been implemented at Big Bend National Park to give nesting peregrine falcons some peace and quiet.
While the species is no longer on the federal endangered species list, park officials point out that "throughout Texas there are less than a dozen known nesting pairs and the falcon remains on the state’s endangered species list."
"Federal endangered species policy requires that peregrine populations continue to be monitored," they add. "National Park Service policies require the protection and preservation of all state-listed species and all species of concern, regardless of federal or state classification. In keeping with this mandate, and to provide the nesting falcons with areas free of human disturbance, Big Bend National Park will again temporarily close or place restrictions on the use of certain park lands."
Areas closed to public entry through May 31 are:
The Southeast Rim Trail and a portion of the Northeast Rim Trail from the Boot Canyon/Southeast Rim junction to a point just north of Campsite NE-4.
All Southeast Rim campsites as well as Northeast (NE) campsites 4 and 5 are closed during this period.
Technical rock climbing on rock faces within ¼ mile of known peregrine eyries, as posted, will not be allowed between February 1 and July 15.
Big Bend officials add that while they don't plan to close any other areas, "restrictions may be modified if peregrine behavior or nesting sites do not follow traditional trends."
“The small population found in Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River represents most of the peregrines found in Texas," notes park Superintendent Bill Wellman. "We appreciate the public support and cooperation that we continue to have for protecting these remarkable birds."