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Flatirons Wildlife Closures for 2018

Original Post
Tim Meehan · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 285

From the City of Boulder News:

The City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks Department (OSMP) has implemented seasonal wildlife closures to protect sensitive areas where birds of prey nest and raise their young. Last year, OSMP wildlife closures–which safeguard some of the highest-quality cliff-nesting habitat in the western United States–helped nesting raptors to raise:

  • 6 peregrine falcons
  • 5 prairie falcons
  • 3 bald eagles
  • 3 golden eagles
  • 7 ospreys

OSMP has closed the following sensitive wildlife areas from Feb. 1 to July 31:

  • Mount Sanitas Summit, accessible from the Mount Sanitas Trailhead a half mile west of Fourth Street and Forest Avenue.
  • Third Flatiron, including the East and West Ironing Boards, Queen Anne’s Head and Jaws, and WC Pinnacle, accessible from Chautauqua Trailhead.
  • Lefthand Canyon Palisades at the intersection of Lefthand Canyon Drive and Olde Stage Road. The Buckingham picnic area remains open.
  • Flagstaff Mountain, the north side of Flagstaff Mountain will be closed. The Boy Scout Trail will remain open.
  • May’s Point cliff. May’s Point Trail will remain open.
  • Skunk Canyon, including Ridges 2, 3 and 4, the Aechean Pronouncement, the Dreadnaught, the North Ridge and the entirety of Sacred Cliffs, accessible from NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road.
  • The Back Porch and The Box, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road.
  • Bear Creek Spire and Der Freischutz, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road.
  • Fern Canyon, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road. The designated Fern Canyon Trail will remain open.
  • Shadow Canyon and the Matron, accessible from the South Mesa Trailhead. The Maiden will remain open and accessible from the east; Shadow Canyon Trail will remain open.
  • The Wings, accessible from the NCAR Trailhead at the west end of Table Mesa Road.
  • The entire Mickey Mouse wall, including Cryptic Crags, which is accessible from the Goshawk Ridge Trail.

OSMP will lift closures if monitoring conducted by staff and volunteers indicates raptors are not present or if nesting attempts fail. OSMP relies heavily on the public to respect the closures, and the cooperation of visitors is greatly appreciated. OSMP rangers patrol closed areas on a regular basis.

To view an interactive map depicting enacted seasonal closures, please visit:

physnchips · · Boulder, CO · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

In addition to the flatirons, here's a reminder of nearby climbing access affected, from

Climbing areas in Eldorado Canyon State Park that are closed seasonally February 1 until July 15 (full details here):

  • Shirttail Peak
  • Millennium Crag
  • Rattlesnake Gulch Trail upper loop

Climbing areas in Boulder Canyon on US Forest Service land that are closed seasonally February 1 until July 31 (full details here):

  • Eagle Rock
  • Blob Rock
  • Bitty Buttress
  • Security Risk
  • Note: Happy Hour, Bihedral and Riviera will remain open as long as visitors stay out of the closed areas.

Climbing areas on Jefferson County Open Space land including crags in Clear Creek Canyon are closed seasonally February 1 until July 31 (full details here):

  • Stumbling Block
  • Bumbling Stock
  • Skinny Legs/Blonde Formation
  • Fault Caves
  • Ghost Crag
  • Highlander Crag
  • Evil
  • Tetanus Garden
  • Cathedral Spires in South Platte (begins March 1)

Climbing areas in Lumpy Ridge on National Park Service land that are closed seasonally March 1 until July 31 (full details here):

  • Twin Owls
  • Rock One
  • Batman Rock
  • Batman Pinnacle
  • Checkerboard Rock
  • Alligator Rock
  • Lightning Rock
  • Thunder Buttress
  • The Parish
  • Sundance Buttress
  • Sheep Rock

Climbing areas in Staunton State Park that are closed in 2016 from February 1 until August 1  (for current conditions contact the park at 303-816-0912):

  • Lion’s Head
  • The Ranch Hand
  • The Park View Dome
  • The Sawmill Crags
  • Rough Neck Wall
  • Black Creek Wall

Dara · · Peep's republic · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 20

As one of the Boulder Canyon Golden Eagle nest monitor volunteers for the US Forest Service, I want to say THANKS to all who obey the seasonal closures. They work!

Last season, the BoCan Golden Eagle mating pair successfully fledged an eaglet, and that wouldn't have happened had people been climbing all around the nest site.

The BoCan closures are broad at first until the more-or-less "permanent" pair select their nest site; at that time.the closure is narrowed to that specific climbing area, and then ultimately lifted once the nest is empty again.

(Interesting note: The Boulder Canyon Golden Eagles started off with two eggs in the nest. Both hatched, and for a short while we could observe two fuzzy white chicks. Then there was only one. We can't say for certain what happened, but filicide and fratricide are not uncommon, given the scarcity of resources (food) at times.) 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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