August 1, 2014
Rebecca Cole-Will, 207-288-8728
Bruce Connery, 207-288-8726
The closures of Precipice, Valley Cove, and Jordan cliffs and adjacent areas and trails (i.e., Precipice, East Face, Jordan, and North Section of Flying Mountain Trails) will open on Friday August 1, 2014 in Acadia National Park was announced today by Superintendent Sheridan Steele today. Adult peregrine falcons at all three areas (Precipice, Jordan, Valley Cove) that occupied these nesting territories since March have successfully raised chicks that fledged approximately 5 weeks ago and are independent of both the cliff areas and adults. These areas were closed in March and May to support ongoing recovery efforts for the peregrine falcon in Maine, which is listed as an Endangered Species under the Maine Endangered Species Act.
The fledglings have become less dependent on the cliff and their parents over the last few weeks. Research has shown that nesting falcons are particularly vulnerable to human disturbance originating immediately above the nesting area or directed at the nest site.Continued disturbances can lead to chick mortality or complete nest failure, which further slows the recovery of the species in Maine. The closure of cliff areas and trails during the nesting season has proven to be successful with over 120 chicks fledging from all cliffs within Acadia National Park over the last 20 years. Biologists within Region 5 of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, of which Acadia National Park is located, who have been working on the recovery of the falcons in the Northeast, have been opening nesting areas on cliffs approximately five weeks after the last chick has been documented to have fledged, or begin flying from the nest.This determination of an opening timeline is based on research that illustrated fledglings were less dependent on the adults or their natal cliff area at or just after five weeks of being able to fly. Although the falcons, both adults and juveniles, are expected to stay in the vicinity of these cliffs and surrounding areas for the remainder of the summer and early fall, they are not expected to be affected or harmed by activities of visitors and park staff.
Additional information about the peregrine recovery program and cliff or trail closures are available at the park's visitor center and headquarters.