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Devils Tower Closures
Submitted By: Peter Gram on Mar 4, 2003

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Devils Tower National Monument Climbing Route Closure
to Protect Prairie Falcons.

To protect Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus) nesting sites, the National Park Service will temporarily close climbing routes along the west and northeast face of Devils Tower beginning March 15th. This closure is an annual event
established under the national monument's Climbing Management Plan with authority from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The areas to be closed include all pitches of climbing routes between and including _No Holds for Bonzo_ and _Accident Victim_ on the west face. On the northeast face, routes between and including _Belle Fourche Buttress_ and _Maid in the Shaid_ will be closed. All pitches terminating at the _Teacher_s Lounge_ will remain open. In addition, the entire west and northeast edges of the Tower Summit will be off limits to climbers. Climbers may ask at the visitor center to see a list of all closed routes.

Prairie falcons are expected to nest on the west or northeast faces of the Tower. Two young falcons fledged from nests on the Tower in 1996, 1998 and 1999. The presence of climbers near or above falcon nests is distressing to parent birds. Too much disturbance from climbing activities may force falcons to abandon eggs or chicks.

Professionals will survey the tower to determine the presence of nesting prairie falcons. Areas without nesting falcons will be reopened by May 15th. Areas with falcon nests will remain closed until young falcons fledge, generally between July 15 and August 1. The closure areas may change based on the location of nesting pairs.

Separate from the falcon closure, Devils Tower National Monument has a voluntary climbing closure in effect for the month of June, out of respect for American Indian cultural traditions. For further information on the climbing closures please contact the monument_s Chief of Resource Management, Jim Cheatham, at (307) 467-5283 ext 12.

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