Lime Park (a.k.a. Lime Creek) Rock Climbing
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Previously: from Phillip Nyland, NFS - the peregrine falcons have returned in 2022 to nest in the Jellystone climbing area of Lime CC. As a result, the White River NF was enacting a temporary closure of the area depicted in the attached Forest Order, effective June 9 until 8/1/22.
A pair of peregrine falcons successfully nested here in 2020 during a similar temporary closure. In 2021, falcons did not nest in this area & a closure wasn't necessary.
A pair was currently attending a nest. During my last monitoring session, both birds were highly agitated until I backed away from the cliff edge out of view. The nest was in a location widely visible from access & climbing routes at the Endless Wall & Magic Forest. In 2020, climbing was possible at the Endless Wall during the nest & nest-departure phases, but that year the nest location made the pair & their young reactive & vulnerable to human presence at both cliffs.
The temporary closed area includes the cliff faces, top of the cliffs, climbing routes, & access routes to the Magic Forest & Endless Wall at Jellystone Park. The top of the cliffs are included in the closure, b/c we have seen the peregrines perched there. Closure information is posted at the beginning of the access route from FR 400. The closure ends Aug. 1.
Older info: as of 6/20/21, after speaking with Phillip Nyland, NF Biologist, the study to date has shown no evidence of raptor nesting in the area. As a result, the NF anticipates no raptor nesting closures. If evidence of raptor nesting is found, the situation could change, but for now Lime Creek & the nearby areas are open.
The White River National Forest proposes to establish a 5-year regulation, known as a “Special Order,” that would restrict human occupancy surrounding a peregrine falcon nest site during the nesting period in Lime Creek Canyon, Eagle County, Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, potentially from May 15 to July 31 each year based on observed nesting activity.
The proposed Special Order extends a short-term restriction set forth from June to 8/1/20 after monitoring showed the nest to be active for the fourth year from 2016-2020, and within the past two years in close proximity to popular climbing routes. The cliffs of Lime Creek Canyon are unique and have the specific resources needed for local peregrine falcons to nest, lay eggs, and rear their young. During this life stage, adults and young peregrine falcons can be disturbed by close human presence.
It is our intent to protect the area surrounding the nest site using science-based peregrine falcon information & monitoring. As possible, the restriction may allow for climbing & other human presence where this does not interfere with local peregrine falcons to nest, lay eggs, & rear young. As possible, the area to be restricted would immediately surrounding the nest site & adjusted in location if the birds shift their nest site during the 5 year restriction period. The proposed Special Order would be lifted annually on or before Aug. 1, depending on the status of the nest & the peregrine falcons present, & the Special Order would remain in effect until rescinded or until 8/1/25, whichever event occurs first.
How to comment:
You may comment on this proposal by replying to Phil Nyland, Wildlife Biologist at (970) 404-3156, firstname.lastname@example.org or Jennifer Schuller, Deputy District Ranger at (970) 404-3163, Jennifer.email@example.com. Please provide comments by May 24, 2021.
More information regarding the proposal, its rationale, and how to provide your comments is available by contacting the Forest Service.
Please share this invitation to comment with others.
Thank you for your interest in the management of your public lands.
Forest Service Wildlife Biologist
White River National Forest,
POB 309, 620 Main St.
Carbondale, CO 81623 fs.fed.us
Continue past the lake on Forest Service Road 400 for approximately 8 miles to FS 507. ~1 mile after the lake, stay left at the fork. ~3 miles past Sylvan lake, you will reach Crooked Creek Pass. Continue straight. 2 miles beyond the pass, you will pass Crooked Creek Reservoir on the left. 1 mile past Crooked Creek Reservoir, turn left onto FS 507. Turn right onto Burnt Mountain Road after 0.4 miles. This is a total of 9.1 miles past Sylvan Lake, or 24.6 miles from I-70.
0.2 miles after the right turn, you will see the canyon below and to the west. Turn right into the canyon. There is a road on either side of Lime Creek. The Punch Bowl is on the East side of the canyon, and all other crags are on the West side. The West Road is more suitable for low-clearance vehicles. If you're camping, the East Road provides more secluded camp sites.
According to my atlas this area can also be approached from Basalt.
2021 Raptor nesting update
From the NFS (6/9/21): after several days of searching the cliffs of Lime Canyon, we have not seen evidence of peregrine falcon activity in 2021. At this time, we do not anticipate a restriction for falcon nesting protection in 2021.
There is a chance that birds were not moving or vocalizing during our searches or they have not arrived yet. If during the next weeks falcon nesting is discovered in a location that could be impacted from nearby recreation use, we will notify stakeholders and a short-term special order would likely be put into effect through the remaining nesting period.
The Aspen-Sopris Range District wants to acknowledge and express our thanks to individuals, businesses, and entities that participated in the outreach to protect peregrine falcon nesting at Lime Canyon. Commentors expressed support for our efforts to use resource monitoring information to inform restrictions on public use of Lime Canyon, be it short term or long term. Falcon territories can persist for years, and birds may return to Lime Canyon sooner or later. We plan to stay in contact regarding what we observe out there.
If you have questions or comments regarding this management process or the management of resources at Lime Canyon, please reach out to me. Thank you.
Phil Nyland, Forest Service Wildlife Biologist, White River NF, Aspen-Sopris District, p: 970-404-3156, firstname.lastname@example.org,
PO Box 309, 620 Main St., Carbondale, CO 81623, www.fs.fed.us.
You are being invited to take part in a research study about the recreational use of Lime Park (Lime Creek) to better understand how individuals and groups use the area.
Click here to access the questionnaire.
The White River National Forest has identified Lime Park recreational area as a site in need of management due to the continual increase in use by recreationalists, especially the rock-climbing community. Lime Park is located in a remote area within the National Forest resulting in significant management challenges for the area, primarily impacts from recreational use such as increased human waste and habitat degradation.
This project will result in a recreational management plan and the formation of a “Friends of Lime Park” stakeholder committee to co-manage the area with the support of the National Forest. The project uses adaptive management strategies to ensure the area remains accessible to all, achieving a high-quality user experience with minimal negative environmental impacts within a remote wilderness region.
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