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Contact: Bruce Connery, 207-288-8726
Peregrine falcons have again been observed defending nesting territories and engaging in breeding behavior at the Precipice, Valley Cove, and Beech Cliffs in Acadia National Park. The species is listed as an Endangered Species under the Maine Endangered Species Act.
In order to protect the nesting birds from inadvertent disturbance or harassment, areas in and around these cliffs are closed to all visitor and operational activities. The closure at the Precipice includes the popular Precipice and East Face Trails found on the east face of Champlain Mountain. The East Face Trail has been closed since October 2006 because of earthquake damage. This notice reinforces that trail closure as well as applies the closure to the cliff and immediate area. The closure at Valley Cove includes the north section of the Flying Mountain Trail, between the north ends of Man ‘O’ War Brook fire road and the Valley Cove fire road. The closure at Beech Cliff does not include any trails, only the cliff face itself. Trails will remain closed until approximately five weeks after chicks take their first flights, or fledge, from their nests. The reopening of these closed areas usually is in late July or early August, or after the trail crew has determined the trails are safe to use after repairing any damage that may have been done during the previous winter. The East Face Trail may remain closed for the year.
In 1991, the first pair of peregrine falcons nested successfully on the east face of Champlain Mountain. A second pair of falcons established a nest site on Beech Cliffs above Echo Lake in 1995, and a third pair of falcons established a nesting territory at Jordan Cliffs in 1996. In 2007, all nesting pairs of peregrine falcons on Mount Desert Island failed to hatch chicks apparently due to late spring storms in April. Second attempts failed as well, again because of poor weather conditions in May for the incubating adults. Even with this unfortunate year, Mount Desert Island's peregrine falcon population remains one of the cornerstones of Maine's and New England’s peregrine falcon recovery program with the fledging of approximately eighty chicks on Mount Desert Island over the last 17 years.
The park will announce the reopening of the closed areas and trails when the park biologist and the State Endangered Species biologist determine that human activities will not disturb the young birds.