On May 23, 2016

Cliff tops and overlooks closed to protect nesting peregrines

By Steven Faccio

Hikers and climbers can help nesting peregrine falcons by avoiding 12 Vermont cliff areas this year.

Hiking Vermont’s hillsides is a great way to enjoy a spring day, but the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Audubon Vermont recommend you check to see if the area you’re planning to hike or climb is open. Several cliff areas are currently closed to protect nesting peregrine falcons.

“Peregrine nesting is well underway this spring,” said John Buck, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department biologist in a May 10 release. “The falcons are very sensitive to human presence so we ask climbers and hikers to please maintain a respectful distance from all nests. These closures help people to choose an alternative route in advance.”

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department partners with Audubon Vermont to monitor the sites throughout the nesting season. These sites will remain closed until Aug. 1 or until the department determines the risk to nesting falcons has passed. Additional sites may be added to the closed list if nesting falcons choose new sites.

  • Barnet roadcut (Barnet) – Route 5 pullout closed
  • Bolton Notch (Bolton) – Upper west cliff closed to climbing
  • Bone Mountain (Bolton) – Portions of cliff closed to climbing
  • Deer Leap (Bristol) – Closed
  • Fairlee Palisades (Fairlee) – Cliff top closed
  • Hazens Notch (Lowell) – Cliff closed to climbing
  • Marshfield Mountain (Marshfield) – Portions closed to climbing
  • Mt. Horrid (Goshen) – Great Cliff overlook closed
  • Nichols Ledge (Woodbury) – Cliff top closed
  • Rattlesnake Point (Salisbury) – Cliff top closed
  • Snake Mountain (Addison) – Overlook south of pond closed
  • Table Mountain (Manchester) – Closed

“The areas closed include the portions of the cliffs where the birds are nesting and the trails leading to the cliff tops or overlooks,” said Buck. “In many cases the lower portions of the trails are still open, and we encourage people to get out with good binoculars or a ‘scope to enjoy watching the birds from a distance. We will update the closure list as more nesting data are reported.”

Last year saw a record nesting season for Vermont’s peregrine falcons, with 67 young birds successfully growing up and leaving the nest. “The peregrine’s recovery is a great success story,” said Fowle. “The population continues to do well thanks to the efforts of our many volunteers and partners.”

“We appreciate the public’s support in respecting the cliff closures,” said Buck. “The peregrine falcon was removed from the endangered species list in 2005 due in part to people respecting the falcon’s nesting period. Continued respect for the falcon will help ensure that peregrines remain part of Vermont’s landscape.”

What you can do to help Vermont peregrines:

Respect cliff closures and retreat from any cliff where you see peregrines

Report any disturbance of nesting peregrines to your local game warden

Report any sightings by calling Vermont Fish & Wildlife at 802-828-1000 or emailing fwinformation@state.vt.us

Updated information on cliff closures is listed on the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department website: www.vtfishandwildlife.com or by calling 802-828-1000.

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