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Contact: Public Affairs Office, 307.739.3393
As in previous years, Baxter's Pinnacle and its southwest descent gully are once again closed to public entry due to an active peregrine falcon nest. In 2011, a pair of falcons established a new nest near Baxter's Pinnacle, making this the fifth year that a temporary public closure has been enforced to protect both climbers and nesting peregrines at this site.
Baxter's Pinnacle is a popular climbing route in Cascade Canyon at Grand Teton National Park.A nearby climb called No Perches Necessary remains open.
Peregrine falcons generally lay their eggs in early May, so this is a crucial time for the nesting birds at their aerie near Baxter's Pinnacle. Falcons are sensitive to human disturbance and will abandon a nest to defend their territory which can lead to nest failure and low reproductive success.
Peregrines are territorial and aggressive birds especially while nesting and incubating eggs;they become even more protective after their chicks hatch. Baxter's Pinnacle will remain closed until the young birds have fledged or biologists determine there is no longer a risk to either climbers or the birds.
The peregrine falcon is among the world's fastest birds, flying at 40-55 mph and diving at more than 200 mph while defending territory or striking prey. This poses a safety risk to climbers who might be knocked off their route and injured as falcons swoop repeatedly overhead.
Peregrines were delisted from the endangered species list in 1999, but remain a species of concern in Grand Teton National Park where only three other nesting pairs exist.
Seasonal and temporary closures for wildlife protection are common in Grand Teton as a means to protect both wildlife and park users. Entering a posted wildlife closure is a violation under the code of federal regulations that can result in a citation and fine.