Editor’s note: This was originally published in 2021 but the information is valid for 2023’s climbing season.
By Mike Lynch
Rock climbing routes known to be used by nesting peregrine falcons were temporarily closed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation on April 1.
The annual spring closure is done to protect the falcons and young from any disturbances that might interfere with the raising of the young birds. Peregrine falcons are endangered in New York state, although their numbers have grown steadily since the 1970s, when the state started making efforts to reintroduce the bird to places throughout the Adirondacks.
According to the DEC, the closure of the routes is based on a number of factors, including the proximity and visibility to a nesting site. At the beginning of the nesting season, DEC closures large portions of cliffs or entire cliffs where the falcons are known to nest, then gradually reopens them.
The goal is to get the birds to their preferred sites early in the nesting sites, according to the DEC. This benefits both the birds and climbers, who can return to using the routes once the young birds are able to fly.
Closures include routes on Upper Washbowl Cliffs near Chapel Pond, Moss Cliffs and Notch Mountain in Wilmington, and Poke-0-Moonshine in the northern Adirondacks. Further south cliffs have been closed on Crane Mountain. Lake George region closures took place on Shelving Rock Mountain, Sleeping Beauty Mountain, and Rogers Rock.
The DEC anticipates that some routes could return in three to four weeks. In 2020, two rock climbers from the New York City area were ticketed for scaling routes at Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain that had been closed to protect peregrine falcons.
A complete list of route closures can be found on the DEC’s website.
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