Mountain Project Logo

Partial Seasonal Closure of Peaks Crag due to Peregrine Nesting


Original Post
NAZ CC · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 0

The US Forest Service has announced a partial seasonal closure starting April 1st of the Peaks Crag on Mt. Humphrey's due to Peregrine Falcon nesting. After discussions between the NAZCC and the USFS we convinced them to adopt our proposal of a partial closure rather than the full closure that was instituted last year. While we would prefer to end the practice of decreed closures for a species that has now been removed from the endangered species list for 20 years and has made a full recovery, in this case we consider this compromise a step in the right direction.
 The partial closure is a bit complicated so please be sure to understand how to comply before climbing because the USFS has informed us they will be monitoring for compliance, and if they detect non-compliance they will likely close the whole area for the nesting season.
 Basically the southern 2/3s of the crag from where the social trail meets the cliff (in the vicinity of the route Black Swan), as well as the traditional approach up the drainage from Freidlein Prairie Road (FR 522) will be closed for the season. Instead access will be from the north by parking at the Snowbowl lot and taking the Kachina Trail southeast and then descending to the Peaks Crag.
 Furthermore the USFS has informed us they will continue to monitor the nest and aim to reopen the area if there are no chicks or as soon as the chicks have fledged the nest.

 https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd618430.pdf
Wylie · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 46

Ever wonder what it looks like when 47 people try to climb on 6 routes. Now is our chance ;)   

Short Fall Sean · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 5

Is it ok to climb Black Swan if you don't go any further left than that?

Where's Walden · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 89

NAZCC says details are still in the works. The regular approach is closed and recommended approach is front Snowbowl via Kachina trail. Exact northern limit of closure to be decided, and signage rumored to be posted soon.

. · · Flagstaff AZ · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 30
While we would prefer to end the practice of decreed closures for a species that has now been removed from the endangered species list for 20 years and has made a full recovery, in this case we consider this compromise a step in the right direction. 
It's disappointing to see that the NAZCC is taking an oppositional stance against seasonal raptor closures. As a voice for the climbing community, the NAZCC should be a voice cautioning climbers about their impact and be an advocate for conservation. There are multiple examples all over the country of climbers working with land managers to enforce seasonal bird closures and help monitor nest success. If we want to be stewards to the environment, it should be in a climber's interest to weigh the conservational stewardship against the sport. Though Peregrine falcons have made an impressive recovery, they have the right to have a safe place to nest and raise their young, regardless of their endangered status. I hope that in the future, the climbing community in Arizona can be stronger advocates for these cool birds. Openly snarky commentary from a organization representing local climbers is poor professionalism and certainly doesn't bode well for how climbers look to land managers.
Jackson
Jack Quarless · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 0

I disagree completely.
Access needs to be fought for at all cost. Peregrines are not endangered and there is no risk to that species by reducing the scope of restrictions. Emotional responses like Jackson's need to be curtailed and replaced with logical responses that provide the most benefit to the greatest number of resource users. Responses like his depict a climbing community with a divided opinion on the value of our resource and our commitment to access.  Being divided in our commitment to access will likely lead to more and more climbing restrictions in the future. If this division continues it is not unthinkable that crags are closed because they endanger beehives. How climbing is allowed at all on public land is a mystery to me, but if we appreciate it we should fight for access wherever and whenever possible.

Quarless

Where's Walden · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 89

A local of over a decade I know holds the stance that- "The birds were here before we were. They stayed when we came, they stayed when it was bolted, and they stayed when it went on mountain project." I think he makes a point. I am in support of the closures, but it doesnt make sense to close the whole crag when birds may only nest on one section of cliff. I know they favor the chossy section with few established (and fewer GOOD) climbs. Why not just close everything left of Whistle Stop?

lou · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 60

Thats awesome .... all raptors need to nest in peace.   Disturbance results in chilled/broken eggs.  Regardless of endangered status...climbers need to stop the ME ME ME attitude, grow up and become stewards of the environment in which the recreate.  Falcons are very site specific... ( needing certain heights, direction, shade, and quiet)....some aeries are known to be used for hundreds of years.  There is huge risk by reducing the scope of restrictions... no young and or nest abandonment .   Yes logic needs to dictate.... and science ( if you believe in science ...lol).   Not spewing.

With every piece of stone over 30 feet being developed or developed for climbing... we cannot just say... Oh, their not endangered anymore.   Very selfish and ignorant.  Whether its big horn sheep lambing areas in Pine Creek or falcons.  Irrational and emotional to site extreme cases (bees).   Yes and they will take our guns if we let background checks.   Please.   

There are too many "rats in the cage".. more and more climbers everywhere .... we need to take care of those things we value that make the wilderness what it is.   Not just screaming and being loud so others will think you're cool.   Lots of posers.  

We can only hope that they will do the same for Isolation canyon, where Peregrine are trying to nest with climbs on both sides.

cheers... lou

Robert Hernandez · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 15

Let's be honest. Peregrins are annoying sky rats that are not endangered and are re populating just fine without human protection.  Lou sounds like a maniac, conflating twleve issues at a time and getting it all wrong. Calling people posers, labeling anyone who disagrees with his emotional outbust as selfish and ignorant, he is a poster child for climbers own worst enemy.   Don't be climbers own worst enemy.

Tim Lutz · · Colo-Rado Springs · Joined Aug 2012 · Points: 5

Peregrins lolz

. · · Flagstaff AZ · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 30
Jack Quarless wrote: I disagree completely.
Access needs to be fought for at all cost. Peregrines are not endangered and there is no risk to that species by reducing the scope of restrictions. Emotional responses like Jackson's need to be curtailed and replaced with logical responses that provide the most benefit to the greatest number of resource users. Responses like his depict a climbing community with a divided opinion on the value of our resource and our commitment to access.  Being divided in our commitment to access will likely lead to more and more climbing restrictions in the future. If this division continues it is not unthinkable that crags are closed because they endanger beehives. How climbing is allowed at all on public land is a mystery to me, but if we appreciate it we should fight for access wherever and whenever possible.

Quarless

Howdy Jack,

If you think that climbing access takes priority above all else, including conservation and preservation efforts then there is a divided opinion within the climbing community. An important part ensuring future access is showing landmanagers that we are a responsible user group, conscious of and proactive towards minimizing our impact on the landscape. Its disheartening to hear opinions stating that we need to fight for access at all costs. I strongly feel that responsible development and self managment of climbing areas, including acknowledging and accounting for who we share the cliffs with should be the focus of our efforts to preserve access.
Jack Quarless · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 0

You are confusing fighting for access with environmental impact. It is disheartening hearing a climber so confused as to think that in order to minimize impact and work with land managers it is necessary to accept any and all restrictions because one group believes it.  As stated above, the birds were there before and after the bolting, climbing, and publishing. You are just virtue signaling to win points in the how liberal can I be contest without really caring about the future of climbing. 

. · · Flagstaff AZ · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 30

Haha, oh man MP always delivers!
I hope the NAZCC conversation with the Forest Service continues and leads to a collaborative effort towards preserving climbing access and falcon habitat. On another note I think accessing the Peaks Crag via Viet Springs would be a shorter approach then Kachina.
Conservation > Climbing
j

CTB · · Cave Creek, AZ · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 205
Robert Hernandez wrote: Let's be honest. Peregrins are annoying sky rats that are not endangered and are re populating just fine without human protection.  Lou sounds like a maniac, conflating twleve issues at a time and getting it all wrong. Calling people posers, labeling anyone who disagrees with his emotional outbust as selfish and ignorant, he is a poster child for climbers own worst enemy.   Don't be climbers own worst enemy.

I take it you have never been dive bombed by one of them “sky rats”.  Who gives a shit if they are or are not endangered. High up on the rock is their home and where they need to be to safely raise their young. Entitled climbers that feel that they have the right to encroach on them are the ignorant ones. Or they are just assholes

Robert Hernandez · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 15
CTB wrote:

I take it you have never been dive bombed by one of them “sky rats”.  Who gives a shit if they are or are not endangered. High up on the rock is their home and where they need to be to safely raise their young. Entitled climbers that feel that they have the right to encroach on them are the ignorant ones. Or they are just assholes



I give a shit that they are not endangered, and calling me names does not make your argument logical or right.  I am only entitled to what I am willing to fight for. The fact the birds are still there and the authorities are willing to discuss compromise is evidence that this is not a simple case of you being right and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong. I have five peregrines on my property and they are doing fine with my presence. Wake up. Climbing is precious, If we don't appreciate it and don't fight for it, well, take a look around the country to see how that is going, access can be lost quite easily. Furthermore, your dogmatic ideology will lead to ever escalating conflict between a user group and wild animals, and traditionally that conflict has not gone well for the animals. Access to areas like these are currently rights, ignore them and they will soon be a thing of the past. 

Short Fall Sean · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 5

After I make the first Instagram live-streamed partial free ascent of Black Swan I'm going to rename it "Death to Sky Rats". Then I'll compose a dubstep song about it and play it on a loop 24/7 at the Peaks Crag. Cool?

CJD · · Chino Valley, AZ · Joined Apr 2007 · Points: 35

So if we are going to close a crag for non endangered species I guess we aren’t going climbing anywhere because these falcons aren’t the only species that lives on cliffs. Where do you draw the line?

Wylie · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Jul 2011 · Points: 46

Partial cliff closure seems reasonable.  Full closure seems a bit much.  The middle road is how we can all win.  What happens when their #'s are booming and they are nesting on all the cliffs though?  There doesn't seem to be any good research on how to perform closures and I've read opposing information on how much space and time they need while nesting.  Seems like it's mostly opinion based right now.  

I think the most important part of this discussion is for climbers and public land managers to engage in open and respectful communication.  At the end of the day the USFS has the final say and if the climbing community comes at them overly aggressive and rude they have the authority to just shut us down.  The public land rules do not make climbing a right and they can stop us from climbing altogether if they deem it a threat to wildlife or damaging to the land.  Whether you agree with their stance or not this is the reality of the situation.  

 

Ivan Cross · · Flagstaff · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 127

To anyone reading this thread, particularly the NAZ CC, I would like you to know that people who would call peregrines "sky rats" do not speak for me or the NAZ climbers who I associate with. And it's not surprising that those same voices are clamoring for bolts at The Forks.

Short Fall Sean · · Flagstaff, AZ · Joined Sep 2012 · Points: 5

Ivan, was it not painfully obvious that my comment was a joke?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Arizona & New Mexico
Post a Reply to "Partial Seasonal Closure of Peaks Crag due to P…"

Log In to Reply