Some of Zion National Park’s most popular climbing trails will be strictly for the birds soon, in particular the southern Utah park’s nesting Peregrine falcons.
Park spokeswoman Alyssa Baltrus said Friday that the temporary closures will begin on March 1 as part of an ongoing effort to help the formerly endangered, nesting predators continue to recover their numbers.
The trail closures include Angels Landing, Cable Mountain, the Great White Throne, Isaac (in Court of the Patriarchs), the Sentinel, Mountain of the Sun, North Twin Brother, Tunnel Wall, the East Temple, Mount Spry, The Streaked Wall, Mount Kinesava, and the Middle Fork of Taylor Creek.
All other cliffs will remain open to climbing.
The closures will remain in place through late July for those areas where nesting is confirmed; cliffside trails not chosen by nesting pairs of the falcons will be reopened to hikers and climbers by late April or early May.
Every spring and summer, the birds choose various cliffside locations in Zion National Park to raise their young. Concentrations of the raptors are among the highest in the West.
The species was deemed endangered in 1970 when the insecticide DDT was linked to thin-shelled eggs that failed to produce living chicks. DDT was banned in 1972, and since then captive breeding and protective measures have gradually helped the falcons recover. In 1999, the birds were taken off the endangered species list.