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Outside Mag. Article on Peregrines Features Local Climbers


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Good afternoon,


I just received this from Greg Orton from the SW Oregon Climbers Coalition. It has very timely information around Peregrine closures and why they might not need to be as restrictive as they once were. I think that the more information we as climbers have around the best available science regarding the healthy Peregrine population, the better chance we may have with land managers and less restrictive closures to our favorite crags and trails. We do need to be willing to start that conversation with land managers though.


Thanks to:

Adam Baylor (Mazamas and Access Fund RC)

Greg Orton (SW OR Climbers Coalition)

Dave Peterson (US F&W - Retired)

Thanks for reading!

Kellie Rice

President, Madrone Wall Preservation Committee

Edited by elaine
Title needed to make more sense... :)~
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The article, quite unfortunately, conflates two separate issues:

a) blanket closures over large swaths of [mostly western] Federal land which are unsupported by evidence


b) targeted closures supported by evidence at climbing venues

and in doing so presents them as one in the same under a title assertion which is only valid for the first of these issues.

The first issue: the blanket closures of large tracts of BLM and FS land is a valid concern. It should be realized, however, that the BLM and FS resort to blanket closures because they don't have the budgets and manpower to monitor raptors over the blanket closure areas in question. That's was the case ten and twenty years ago and their budgetary and manpower situation is far worse today. The Trump administration is bending use of the BLM budget towards energy exploitation and away from conservation while the FS budget has been hammered by large-scale western wildfires which have become a new normal so neither is going to be ponying up for monitoring Raptors any time soon. Greg Orton has been tackling this issue for years and there is a case to be made for ratcheting-down these large Federal blanket closures based on population numbers. The other possibility is climbers establishing cooperative, versus adversarial, relationships with regional Federal agency offices and biologists, learning to objectively monitor raptors, and in doing so establish select, evidence-based exceptions within the larger blanket closure areas.

The second issue: evidence-based targeted closures of small crags and selected faces and formations within larger crags is well-supported by the science and it ill-serves climbers to confuse and conflate these limited closures with the large blanket closures on Federal lands. Doing so does nothing to advance climbers' access agenda and is, in fact, as counterproductive and damaging to that agenda as breaking closures is as both make climbers look both ill-informed and not interested in cooperative relationships.

The other issue to keep in mind is the quality/breeding performance of any given eyrie - all nesting sites are not equally desirable or productive. High-quality breeding sites should be given more priority than poorly performing ones. Unfortunately for climbers, many of the best sites are on cliffs we want to climb and we and the Raptors are selecting these sites as high-value based on similar criteria if not for the same reasons.

Bottom line - not sharing is not an option so the only question is what form does that sharing take. And another reality is that shaking our fists, playing the victim, and bemoaning how unfair it all is at every single crag and face in the nation is not going to be a viable solution. The solution is trusted cooperative working relationships and objective monitoring by climbers - the latter being easier said than done as it takes time and energy [away from climbing] to monitor effectively as anyone who has done it can testify.

Edited by JosephH
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Hi Joseph,

Thank you for your input. I know you've been involved with monitoring over the years. Some of the approaches in Orton's drafted guide might not work for certain areas,  but I think the more informed we climbers are as a group the better of a chance that we can start a conversation with land managers. A manual from The Peregrine Fund (1996) by Cade and Enderson states that closures can be lifted once Peregrines fledge. Maybe you've seen it? I'd like to start this particular conversation with Clackamas County this next year, and not waiting until July 15th or 16th each year for re-opening. There is no one at the County with any experience around monitoring, nor did they help at all these last two years. I'm a little dubious of any monitoring by them in previous years since they haven't shown us any information when we've asked for it. The Peregrines in general started nesting later in general on the west side of the Cascades. The juveniles that I'm aware of at Madrone, Beacon, Cape Horn, and even Roseburg, all fledged within a week of each other around June 23rd. The Prairie falcon closure at Smith just lifted today for Kiss of the Leepers area. The Monument area reopened one week after the lone Bald Eaglet fledged: Fledged on June 30th, and the closure was lifted on July 7. I realize that Smith is a different beast, too, but they have tentative blanket closures, or should I say tentative opening dates in place, but rely on information from those monitoring about the "independence of the juveniles." (quote from the ranger on the phone).




Edited by elaine
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