Climbing routes on cliffs used by nesting Peregrine Falcons in Zion National Park will be temporarily closed beginning March 1 to protect the nesting success of this bird, which is in recovery from “endangered species” status.
The closure date is based on analysis of information collected from 2001-2013 regarding the peregrines’ arrival time to their nesting cliffs in the park.
The following cliffs will be closed to climbing beginning March 1: Angels Landing, Cable Mountain, The Great White Throne (beyond single- and double-pitched climbs), Isaac (in 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. All other cliffs will remain open to climbing.
Park wildlife biologists will monitor the nesting activity of Peregrine Falcons throughout the 2014 breeding season. Cliffs that have been closed but are not being used for nest sites this year will be reopened when nest locations have been determined, typically by late April or early May. Those cliffs being used this year will be monitored until the chicks fledge, usually in late July, and then will be reopened to climbing.
Zion is home to a high concentration of breeding Peregrine Falcons each spring and summer. These birds of prey were listed as an “endangered species” in 1970 under the Endangered Species Act. Their decline was primarily due to the effects of DDT, an insecticide which caused the female to produce thin-shelled eggs that were easily broken, killing the developing embryo inside.
Thanks to the U.S. ban on DDT in 1972, as well as the success of captive breeding programs, peregrine populations have recovered across North America and the species was delisted in 1999. Zion National Park has been and continues to be an important sanctuary for peregrines and many other wildlife species.
For up-to-date information on the status and maps of the closed climbing cliffs, you can check the climbing page on the Zion National Park website. Climbers are responsible for checking the specific maps of the closed areas. The website will be continuously updated as cliffs are reopened.