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Contact: Christie Anastasia, 207-288-8806
BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The National Park Service (NPS) will reopen Precipice Trail and Orange & Black Path in Acadia National Park to public entry on Friday, July 13, 2018. The NPS closed those areas on April 13, 2018, to protect the peregrine falcons from inadvertent disturbance or harassment during the nesting period. The Jordan Cliffs Trail remains closed due to the presence of nesting peregrine falcons.
The protection of the peregrine falcon nesting territories in 2018 resulted in the hatching/fledging of 8 chicks this year—compared to at least5 last year and 11 in 2016. Adult peregrine falcons at Valley Cove cliffs successfully raised 4 chicks that fledged about 3 weeks ago and will soon be independent of both the cliff and their parents. Although the adults and juvenile falcons are expected to stay near the Valley Cove cliff through early fall, they are not expected to be negatively affected by visitors since the Valley Cove Trail has been closed for two years for major repairs, and is likely to remain closed for the near future. Falcons at the Precipice were not successful at nesting this year, the last time the peregrines at the Precipice were unsuccessful was Spring 2007, which was related to the Patriot Day Blizzard-Snow Storm.
“It isn’t uncommon for falcon pairs to fail to nest in some years,” said Park Biologist Bruce Connery. “Over the course of 27 years the Precipice site pair has successfully nested 25 times.”
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 140 chicks fledging from cliffs in Acadia National Park over the last 27 years.