Record of Determination for a Temporary Closure and Public Use Limitation to help ensure successful nesting of peregrine falcons on Maryland Heights within the boundaries of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Pursuant to 36 CFR l .5(a)(1), the National Park Service (NPS) is temporarily closing certain areas within the boundaries of Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (HAFE) to public use. This closure will apply to public use on and around the cliff face of Maryland Heights, Washington County, Maryland.

Park staff has observed adult peregrines near the cliff face of Maryland Heights engaging in courtship and pre-nesting behavior signaling the birds’ intentions to nest and raise chicks during the spring and early summer. To help ensure their nesting success, a temporary closure will be in effect for areas around the Maryland Heights overlook and cliff face, focusing on The Gully, Sign Wall, ABC Ramps, Trail Tunnel Wall and Confederate Walls. Union Wall overlook is the only overlook to remain opened during this temporary closure, all other overlooks will be closed. Union Wall climbing routes will remain open as well. Research has shown that nesting peregrine falcons are particularly vulnerable to human activities on or above cliff faces.

Portions of Maryland Heights, identified as areas closed to visitor use activities, beginning February 15th and remaining in effect until July 31st, or until further notice are considered as ideal habitat for breeding peregrines.

Notice of this temporary and partial closure and public use limitation will be made through an orange fence barricade and multi-language signs posted at 25ft. intervals on the fence in the affected park areas, such as normal points of entry and reasonable intervals along the boundary of the affected park locale. Finally, pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5 (c), this determination is available to the public upon request.

Closing these portions of Maryland Heights is necessary to allow for hopeful success of the peregrines to nest, mate, hatch and fledge their offspring.

This temporary and partial closure and temporary public use limitation does not constitute an impairment to park resources and values and is not of a nature, magnitude and duration that will result in a significant alteration in public use patterns of the park. Accordingly, pursuant to 36 CFR 1.5 (b), publication as rulemaking in the Federal Register is unwarranted.

H.Tyrone Brandyburg
Superintendent, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park

Last updated: February 14, 2020

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
National Park Service
PO Box 65

Harpers Ferry, WV 25425


304 535-6029

Contact Us