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dberdinka

The rhyme and reason behind falcon closures?

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After 30 years of carefully documented climbing closures for Peregrine breeding all over North America I wonder if there aren't sufficent data points to correlate breeding success to the size of the closure. Just a thought.

I doubt you'll find closures were 'carefully documented' except in areas where there was active monitoring resources which is likely a small percentage of closures. Given all the closures were of at least some minimum size (say 300m), I don't suspect you'd find much in the data other than overall closures work.

 

From my experience it's more to do with site specific conditions. If a pair is nesting in the same spot year after year then a more focused approach can be taken to minimize the buffer distance. If a pair nests in different locations year to year then a more conservative approach is warranted. Other factors, such as line-of-site view, use of cliffs by other raptors, intensity of recreation use int he area often are considerations. My biased view is that the cliffs are more than an extesion of the climbing gym and restrictions can easily be accomodated.

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such as line-of-site view

This is the one Kevin can't quite grasp, that hikers at Beacon never break the plane of the cliff and only get vaguely close to doing so at two points.

 

My biased view is that the cliffs are more than an extension of the climbing gym and restrictions can easily be accomodated.

You should consider elaborating on that remark.

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From my experience it's more to do with site specific conditions.

 

Yes, certainly at first. Anderson went and looked before he announced the 1st closure at Cape Horn. The hikers have maintained that the birds have been there co-existing just fine with the hikers for years. That might be true, but I suspect that they do not have very good data on if the chicks were disturbed or not, as you cannot easily see them. Furthermore, in this circumstance, the trail is getting more and more people each year.

 

I know that increased useage can be the case in Yos closures: for instance where they didn't close Superslide (Superslab it's called in reid I think) for many years until it got pretty popular. The birds had nested in the same place all along. You could see the birds gliding overhead dropping into a scrape not to very far away ...@ a city block up and left, appearing totally undisturbed and unconcerned. When they finally did close it, I talked the closure over with Link, the ranger at the time. He indicated that closure was finally put in place strictly due to increasing popularity. Nothing else had changed. Yet then last time I was there it was not closed, and you could see the birds, still apparently fine. I'm unsure why they flipped on it.

 

Because of it's accessibility and visibility of the scrape, it would be nice if Beacon was more open and studied as a demo to see if climber/bird interaction could be closer. Most climbers who have spent a lot of time on rock near birds, and Bachers post on JH's Supertopo link is just one more nail there, believe there is no problem with it.

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such as line-of-site view

This is the one Kevin can't quite grasp, that hikers at Beacon never break the plane of the cliff and only get vaguely close to doing so at two points.

 

My biased view is that the cliffs are more than an extension of the climbing gym and restrictions can easily be accomodated.

You should consider elaborating on that remark.

 

Regarding line-of-sight issues; note I said it was one of may issues to consider. I could send you a slew of citations on this type of work and what you would come away with is the variability of the susceptability to disturbance of raptors to various factors. If your agency's mandate is to protect the natural resources you may choose a conservative approach given all the variables.

 

And that goes along with my second point. IMO the cliffs, and the critters and plants that use them, should be treated with a bit more diligence and not just viewed as a jungle gym by weekend warriors. Ya know, an outdoor esthetic kinda thing.

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Regarding line-of-sight issues; note I said it was one of may issues to consider. I could send you a slew of citations on this type of work and what you would come away with is the variability of the susceptability to disturbance of raptors to various factors.

This factor in isolation is what tortures Kevin, however. And at Beacon in the end it makes all the difference. For much of the entire distance to the top tourists are either on the West face or are in the trees as they approach the South face (where the scrape is). They only emerge from them at two spots where they get anywhere near the plane of the cliff. They are never within line-of-sight of the nest or common perches.

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Regarding line-of-sight issues; note I said it was one of may issues to consider. I could send you a slew of citations on this type of work and what you would come away with is the variability of the susceptability to disturbance of raptors to various factors.

This factor in isolation is what tortures Kevin, however. And at Beacon in the end it makes all the difference. For much of the entire distance to the top tourists are either on the West face or are in the trees as they approach the South face (where the scrape is). They only emerge from them at two spots where they get anywhere near the plane of the cliff. They are never within line-of-sight of the nest or common perches.

 

I can't answer specifics as I'm not familar with the site or the issues. But if someone asked me to set a safe buffer distance I'd review the literature, consider the sight AND hearing distance issues and take a conservative approach. I'd rather piss off a handful of climbers than risk disturbing the birds. But like I said, I haven't viewed the site and don't know the issues - so I'm speaking in generalities.

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I can't answer specifics as I'm not familar with the site or the issues. But if someone asked me to set a safe buffer distance I'd review the literature, consider the sight AND hearing distance issues and take a conservative approach. I'd rather piss off a handful of climbers than risk disturbing the birds. But like I said, I haven't viewed the site and don't know the issues - so I'm speaking in generalities.

 

Would you risk pissing off thousands of hikers than risk disturbing the birds? Is "line of site" the only variable? I have a friend who rapped in the nest at Beacon a few years back. He pulled a snickers bar wrapper and a Pepsi can out of the nest. You think climbers are to blame for them? The nest is right under a shoot. IMO these items where thrown over the edge by hikers.

 

The biologist in charge years ago made a statement. He said he did not want anyone within 300 feet of the nest. The climbers at the meeting pointed out that the trail to the top that has thousands of tourists walk it every year is 200 from the nest....so by his own words he needs to close the trail. He changed the subject and moved on. This actually happened. I could make this shit up even if I tried. This is the reason why so many climbers at Beacon are upset. We all love the birds but this particular situation is unique.

 

Line of site is a hollow argument.

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The climbers have already been pissed off, the issue is that the closure doesn't include the [concrete] trail tourists (yellow) take to the top. Yellow circles are where switchbacks get closest to the plane of the South face, the scrape location is marked in red.

 

Beacon_trail.jpg

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Is "line of site" the only variable?

 

 

Line of site is a hollow argument.

 

Didn't I say, like three times above, that this isn't the only considerations. Maybe folks have already, but you could just ask the biologist in charge for his reasoning. And then go hike or climb somewhere else already. Sheesh.

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The reason has to do with the original deeding of the land to the WSP and of politics between the WSP and WDFW. If Dave, the biologist, could close the tourist trail he would, but neither he nor WDFW has the ability to force such a closure upon WSP or one of their landmark tourist sites.

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The climbers have already been pissed off, the issue is that the closure doesn't include the [concrete] trail tourists (yellow) take to the top. Yellow circles are where switchbacks get closest to the plane of the South face, the scrape location is marked in red.

 

Thank you for the clarification and the photo. If the issues is joint pain for climbers and hikers alike there may be a point - but again I don't know the details. If it's let us climb closer because the hikers aren't restricted, one bad decision doesn't deserve another.

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Joseph. You are like a republican. Always what cant be done. The party of "no"! Just think what could happen if you put all your creativity into a yes mentality.

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The reason has to do with the original deeding of the land to the WSP and of politics between the WSP and WDFW. If Dave, the biologist, could close the tourist trail he would, but neither he nor WDFW has the ability to force such a closure upon WSP or one of their landmark tourist sites.

 

OK - wow, that is a knot of issues. Thanks again.

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The line of sight issue is in no way hollow from the perspective of the level of disturbance. It's just that you focus on numerical distance as if every point on the hiking trail broke the plane of the cliff and every point had line of sight to the scrape. At best you would only succeed in closing the tourist trail - you will not change the climbing closure so what's the point?

 

Your wife is an attorney, Bryan is an environmental attorney, Darryl Nakahira is an attorney, Geoff is an attorney. Give up your fourteen year whine and seek either legal or victims' psychology help.

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The reason has to do with the original deeding of the land to the WSP and of politics between the WSP and WDFW. If Dave, the biologist, could close the tourist trail he would, but neither he nor WDFW has the ability to force such a closure upon WSP or one of their landmark tourist sites.

 

OK - wow, that is a knot of issues. Thanks again.

 

And the rub......if the powers that be really wanted to make sure the birds are protected at all costs....they would close the trail. Plain and simple. But like you said....it might disrupt their landmark tourist sites. So it is also plain and simple that the birds and their welfare are not high on the list of firsts for the WSP.

 

 

 

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So you're on a fourteen year whine and obsession to get the tourist trail closed? Because that is the only possible outcome, the climbing closure is not going to be changed.

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The line of sight issue is in no way hollow from the perspective of the level of disturbance.

 

 

So if I climbed from right gull and over to the right....I cannot see big ledge, therefore the birds are not in my "line of sight". So why does the closure extend to all climbing on the south face.

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The reason has to do with the original deeding of the land to the WSP and of politics between the WSP and WDFW. If Dave, the biologist, could close the tourist trail he would, but neither he nor WDFW has the ability to force such a closure upon WSP or one of their landmark tourist sites.

 

OK - wow, that is a knot of issues. Thanks again.

 

And the rub......if the powers that be really wanted to make sure the birds are protected at all costs....they would close the trail. Plain and simple. But like you said....it might disrupt their landmark tourist sites. So it is also plain and simple that the birds and their welfare are not high on the list of firsts for the WSP.

 

Just to extend my curiousity on the issue, and show my ignoranace of the history; have the birds been consistently successful fledging young from this site?

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perhaps the beacon madness should be kept in the beatard quarantine zone? :grin:

 

being right isn't as important as being powerful - the birds have powerful allies w/ alot more mojo than the beatard-nation, so take up knitting or some such shit in the winter, eh? :)

 

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Just to extend my curiousity on the issue, and show my ignoranace of the history; have the birds been consistently successful fledging young from this site?

no

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Beginning in the mid-1990s, State Parks (with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife) began seasonal closures of the South Face to protect nesting peregrine falcons. Like many nesting closures around the country, these closures are keyed to whether nesting activity is successful. If successful, the face remains closed until the chicks fledge or July 15; if unsuccessful (or if it can be confirmed that the falcons have nested somewhere other than the South Face), the Park, WDFW, and the BRCA will coordinate on an opening date as early as possible after the determination.

 

Qualified local climbers and the BRCA are currently assisting WDFW with nest monitoring at Beacon to provide as many opportunities for climbing as possible while remaining protective of the falcons. The progress of this monitoring, as well as any notice of a potential early opening, will be posted on the WCC's discussion forum. The BRCA is also reviewing the inclusion of the West Face in the scope of the current closure.

 

 

From the WCC website. Seems reasonable to me.

 

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Just to extend my curiousity on the issue, and show my ignoranace of the history; have the birds been consistently successful fledging young from this site?

no

Ivan, since their reintroduction in the 70's Beacon has been a steadily successful site. In several recent years the traditional scrape itself may not have been successful but subsequent attempts in those years elsewhere on the rock (location unknown) were. There is some debate as to the success of the 2008 season with David thinking they weren't successful and myself believing there was one fledge.

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Bottom line on the size of the closure is the South face is a relatively small rock so the closure is in every respect consistent with AF-accepted closures around the country.

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So you're on a fourteen year whine and obsession to get the tourist trail closed? Because that is the only possible outcome, the climbing closure is not going to be changed.

Sorry Joseph. I have to call bullshit on this. As climbers, with friends like you at Beacon, we don't need more enemies. There are very good grounds for opening a section of the rock that is no where near the falcon nesting.

Your constant negativity and public slanderage of the climbing community all the while coming off as a climber certainly do not contribute to this effort however. That IS one indisputable fact.

 

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