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BLM Restrictions lifted on Indian Creek Climbing

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sincerely thanks the climbing community for their efforts to avoid raptor nesting sites during the spring climbing season. The BLM now welcomes climbers to use any walls within the Indian Creek corridor, and no longer asks for voluntary avoidance of nesting areas.


Each spring, the BLM asks climbers to voluntarily avoid routes near historic nest sites in Indian Creek. In June 2021, the BLM confirmed no nesting activity on some walls and climbers no longer needed to avoid those climbing areas. Minimizing disturbances during crucial egg incubation and brood rearing periods for peregrine falcons, eagles, and other raptors is critical to successfully rearing young. A BLM wildlife biologist monitored active nests throughout the season and at least two peregrine falcon pairs successfully reared and fledged chicks.


“The successful nests show the value of the avoidance areas each spring and summer,” said Bears Ears National Monument Manager Jacob Palma. “While most climbers avoided climbing on specific walls, somechose not to follow our request. That, combined with other activity in the area, could have contributed to other nests not being successful this year. We will continue to work with climbers and other visitors to improve adherence to these important avoidance areas each spring and summer."


Peregrine falcons are remarkable birds that nest and hunt in the cliffs surrounding Indian Creek. They can fly up to 70 miles per hour and reach up to 200 miles per hour in free fall dives. However, despite their speed and agility, peregrine populations were in steep decline during the mid-20th century, and in the United States the birds became an endangered species. Today they have rebounded strongly since the use of DDT and other chemical pesticides have been curtailed. Though no longer listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the peregrine falcon is still a protected species. Voluntarily avoiding climbing routes with historical and active nests helps protect raptors and reduces the need for mandatory restrictions.


For questions about raptors, please contact BLM Wildlife Biologist Melissa Wardle. For questions about climbing and recreation in the Indian Creek area, please contact BLM Outdoor Recreation Planner Jason Byrd. Both may be reached at the Monticello Field Office (435) 587-1500.

 

Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339 to leave a message or question. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Replies are provided during normal business hours.

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