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Zion National Park Announces 2009 Schedule of Climbing Closures

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Date: February 18, 2009
Contact: David Eaker, 435-772-7811
Contact: Claire Crow, 435-772-0212

This year, Zion National Park will continue to keep popular climbing routes on cliffs used by nesting peregrine falcons open one month longer than in the past. These areas will remain open to climbing through February 28, 2009.  They will close to climbing on March 1, 2009.  The closing date is based on analysis of information collected from 2001-2008 regarding the peregrines’ arrival time to their nesting cliffs in the park.   

The following cliffs will be closed to climbing beginning March 1, 2009:  Mount Kinesava, Streaked Wall, Sentinel, Mountain of the Sun, Great White Throne (beyond single and double-pitched climbs), Cable Mountain, Isaac (in Court of the Patriarchs), North Twin Brother, Middle Fork of Taylor Creek, the northeast buttress of Angel’s Landing and Tunnel West.  All other cliffs are open to climbing.

Park biologists will continue to monitor peregrine falcon nesting activity in the park throughout the 2009 breeding season.  Climbing routes that were previously used for nesting, but are not being used this year, will be re-opened in May.  Cliffs that are being used this year by nesting peregrines will be monitored until the chicks fledge, usually in late July, and then reopened to climbing.

Zion National Park is home to a high concentration of breeding peregrine falcons each spring and summer.  From the mid-1960’s through the 1990’s, these magnificent birds of prey were listed as an “endangered species” under the Endangered Species Act.  Fortunately, peregrine populations have recovered across North America and the species was removed from the list in 1999.  Zion National Park has been and continues to be an important sanctuary for peregrines and other species.  Even when peregrine populations were plummeting elsewhere, peregrines have continued to successfully nest and raise their young on the tall cliffs found in many canyons in the park.  Historically, Zion National Park has hosted 18 known territories used by breeding peregrine falcons.

In some locations in the park, peregrine falcon nesting cliffs also host popular climbing routes.  In the past, park managers closed these nesting cliffs on February 1 of each year based on the presumed start of the breeding season.  Monitoring information gathered annually by park biologists since 2001 has concluded that peregrines do not return to breed until the beginning of March each year.

For up-to-date information on the status and maps of the closed climbing cliffs and routes, please check the Zion National Park website at www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/climbing.htm

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