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    Grand Teton

    National Park Wyoming

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    Black and grizzly bears are roaming throughout the park--near roads, trails and in backcountry areas. Hikers and backcountry users are advised to travel in groups of three or more, make noise and carry bear spray. Visitors must stay 100 yards from bears. More »

  • Moose-Wilson Road Closure

    The Moose-Wilson Road between Death Canyon Junction north to the intersection with the Murie Center Road is temporarily closed to motor vehicles, bicycles, skating, skateboards and similar devices. For current road conditions call 307-739-3682. More »

  • Pathway Closure

    The Multi-use Pathway will be closed from the Gros Ventre Bridge to the Snake River Bridge starting on September 15, 2014 due to construction. Construction on this section of pathway is expected to be completed by October 13, 2014.

Closure Lifted After Peregrine Falcon Chick Fledges from Baxter’s Pinnacle Nest

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Date: August 16, 2013
Contact: Public Affaris Office, 307.739.3393

The public closure at Baxter's Pinnacle and Descent Gully near the mouth of Cascade Canyon was lifted on Thursday, August 15. This area closure went into effect on May 1 to protect an active peregrine falcon nest. Due in part to the protection provided by this wildlife closure, the adult falcons successfully reared and fledged one chick.   

The Baxter's Pinnacle peregrines experienced little to no human interruption during their incubation and chick-rearing phases thanks to active support from the park's two authorized concessioners for guided climbing services, and to the cooperation of Jackson Hole's climbing community that demonstrated responsible behavior and respected the closure. Peregrines are cliff nesters and can be sensitive to human disturbance, especially during their nesting period. Falcons are quite territorial and will often abandon nests to defend their territory, which leads to nest failure and low reproductive success. 

Decimated by the harmful effects of the pesticide DDT, it is believed that peregrine falcons were virtually eliminated from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) by the 1960s. In 1980, efforts to reintroduce peregrine falcons to Grand Teton National Park were initiated in conjunction with similar efforts elsewhere in the GYE and western United States. Between 1980 and 1986, 52 fledgling falcons were released at several sites in the Teton Range; seven to eight birds were released each time. After sufficient recovery was achieved, peregrines were delisted from the endangered species list in 1999. However, peregrine falcons remain a species of concern in Grand Teton National Park where only four nesting pairs exist. The Baxter's nest area was first discovered in 2010, and it has produced one chick in three of the last four years (2010, 2011, and 2013). One other Teton site fledged two chicks this year. 

The public closure served a second purpose: to also protect climbers from the peregrines as they will defend their nest site by dive-bombing perceived intruders. The peregrine falcon is among the world's fastest birds, flying at 40-55 mph and diving at more than 200 mph while defending a territory or striking prey. This posed a safety risk to climbers who may have been knocked off their rock 'perch' and injured. 

Seasonal and temporary closures for wildlife protection are common in Grand Teton to protect both wildlife and park users. Entering a posted wildlife closure is a violation that can result in a citation and fine under the code of federal regulations.  

Did You Know?

Close-up of a lodgepole pine cone

Did you know that lodgepole pine trees grow on glacial moraines in Jackson Hole? Glacial moraines are ridges of rocky debris left behind as Ice Age glaciers melted. The soil on these ridges retains moisture and is more hospitable to trees than the cobbly, porous soil on the outwash plain.