Devils Tower

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

Closure.

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

sites.

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.

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