Nesting Bald Eagles Mean Trail Restrictions at Cuyahoga Valley National Park

The possibility that bald eagles are nesting in Cuyahoga Valley National Park has prompted park officials to institute some access restrictions. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo.

Does anyone remember back in the 1970s when the fate of the bald eagle seemed questionable because of DDT? These majestic birds have recovered so well that they're showing up in more and more parts of the country, and not just winging their way to somewhere else.

At Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio signs of bald eagles nesting in the Pinery Narrows Area of the park have prompted park officials to institute some trail restrictions to give the birds a little privacy for the next few months.

The Pinery Narrows area is north of Station Road Bridge Trailhead in Brecksville, Ohio. The National Park Service will close certain areas surrounding the bald eagle nest to human traffic to minimize disturbance. The Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail will remain open to moving traffic, but closed to stopping and standing for any length of time. Additional restrictions include the following:

* The railroad tracks and 30-foot right of way on either side of the tracks between Rt. 82 and the Fitzwater Yard are closed to ALL pedestrian traffic. The train will maintain their regular operating schedule.

* The Cuyahoga River, downstream of the Brecksville Dam to the Fitzwater Road Bridge, is closed to all water activities (boating, wading, and fishing). Fishing IS permitted at the dam and beneath the high level Rt. 82 Bridge.

Please observe any posted trail restrictions north of the Station Road Bridge Trailhead within the eagle nesting zone.

In late winter eagles lay one to three eggs that are incubated for approximately 35 days, the park says. Eagle eggs are extremely sensitive to cold temperatures so adults must remain on the nest constantly. Human disturbance can disrupt this constant care, jeopardizing nesting success. Although recently removed from the endangered species list, the Bald Eagle is still protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Both federal laws prohibit taking, killing, selling or otherwise harming eagles, their nests or eggs.