Devils Tower Trip Report (#1635)
- Signed By: Kate Comer
- Date submitted: November 01, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MAY 15, 2002
Devils Tower National Monument Climbing Routes Reopen Following Falcon
Effective immediately, all climbing routes on Devils Tower are open. Park
professionals recently determined the absence of nesting prairie falcons on
the west and northeast faces. The closure was established March 15, 2002
to protect prairie falcons (Falco mexicanus) that historically nested on
the West Face of the Tower. Two young falcons fledged from the nest in
1996, 1998 and 1999. During the 2001 and 2002 seasons, a pair of falcons
has been observed perching on the northeast face of the Tower. A current
nesting site on the Tower has not been located.
If disturbed, prairie falcons are extremely defensive of their nests and
are easily driven from the area. The closure was implemented not only for
the protection of the species, but also for the protection of the climbers.
Prairie falcons are known to defensively dive at climbers near nesting
The falcon closure is an annual event established under the national
monument's Climbing Management Plan. Areas on the west and northeast faces
of the tower were included in the closure. In addition, the entire west and
northeast edges of the Tower Summit were off limits to climbers. Climbers
may ask to see a list of all the previously closed routes by asking a
ranger in the visitor center.
Park professionals will continue to monitor the Tower for nesting prairie
falcons. Evidence of a nesting pair is justification for an immediate
closure of climbing routes in the area of the nest site. Closure areas may
change based on the location of nesting pairs.
Separate from the closure, Devils Tower National Monument still has a
voluntary climbing closure in effect for the month of June, out of respect
for American Indian cultural traditions. For further information on the
climbing closures please contact Jim Cheatham, Chief of Resource
Management, at (307) 467-5283 ext 12.