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Contact: John Kelly, 207-288-8703
We have reopened Precipice, Valley Cove, and Jordan Cliffs areas to public entry as of today. The NPS closed these areas on March 17 to protect the peregrine falcons from inadvertent disturbance or harassment during the nesting period.
The entire one-mile Valley Cove Trail between Flying Mountain Trail and Man O' War Brook Trail along Somes Sound will be closed to all public entry until further notice beginning July 29, 2016. The deterioration of trail walls, stone steps, and tread support structures has increased risks to visitor safety. The NPS will be repairing and improving these features to help prevent tripping and fall hazards, and the potential failure of these structures.
The protection of the peregrine falcon nesting territories at Precipice, Valley Cove, and Jordan cliffs resulted in the fledging of 11 chicks this year—compared to seven last year. Adult peregrine falcons at all three areas have successfully raised chicks that fledged more than five weeks ago and are now independent of both the cliffs and their parents. Although the adults and juvenile falcons are expected to stay in the vicinity of these cliffs through early fall, they are not expected to be negatively affected by visitors.
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 slows the recovery of the species in Maine. The closure of cliffs and associated trails during the nesting season has proven to be successful with over 120 chicks fledging from cliffs in Acadia National Park over the last 20 years.
"The temporary closures have contributed to a very successful breeding year for peregrine falcons in Acadia National Park, and we look forward to having many more," said Superintendent Kevin Schneider. "We encourage visitors to enjoy the hiking trails that have reopened and be sure to keep safety in mind, especially on the Precipice Trail."