Annual Forest Closures To Protect Wildlife

Prineville, Ore. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Prineville District has started implementing a series of annual wildlife closures to protect several species of birds of prey during sensitive nesting periods. Harassment by humans – unintentional or deliberate – is a leading cause of nest failure or abandonment. People walking or riding near a nest—or even being within view of an eagle on a nest—can cause an adult bird to abandon the nest. This means eggs can get cold, young don’t get fed, and the nest is open to predation.

All public uses will be prohibited in the closure areas including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and OHV riding/driving.

Depending on the type of bird, closures begin between January 1 and February 1 and continue until August 31, or until the BLM has determined the young have fledged. BLM wildlife staff will monitor nests frequently and will lift closures as soon as possible.

The following areas now have seasonal closures in effect:

• Millican Plateau OHV Trail System (Route #95 only) –This one-mile section of route is closed Jan. 1 – Aug. 31 to protect nesting bald eagles. There are numerous other routes in the area for out-and-back as well as loop rides.

• Tumalo Reservoir – this is a new closure in 2015; this route is closed January 1 to August 31 to protect nesting bald eagles. Visitors can hike or ride in the northeast corner of this trail area or move east to the Cline Buttes Recreation Area for a similar experience.

• Trout Creek Trail (South side of the Trout Creek Trail only) – Visitors are required to stay on the Trout Creek Trail or between Trout Creek Trail and the Lower Deschutes River. This area is closed from January 15 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Climbers can use other climbing locations such as Rattlesnake, Skinners Butte or the Gorge at Smith Rocks.

• North Millican OHV Trail System (Route #25) – This route is closed from February 1 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. There are numerous other routes in the area.

• Cline Buttes Recreation Area (portions of the Deep Canyon, Fryrear, Maston, and Jaguar Road only) – are closed from February 1 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Alternative Trail Use Areas in Cline Buttes include Tumalo Canal Historic Area, the Buttes and the open portions of the areas listed above.

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• Horny Hollow Trail near Crooked River Ranch is closed from February 1 to August 31 to protect nesting golden eagles. Alternate trail sites in the area include Otter Bench, Scout Camp, Folley Waters and Steelhead Falls.

• Dry River Canyon Trail on the southeast side of the Badlands is closed to protect nesting prairie falcons and golden eagles from February 1 to August 31. Alternate places in the area to recreate include Badlands Rock Trail, Flatiron Trail and the Horse Ridge Trail Complex.

Bald and golden eagles are protected by three Federal laws: The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act. Coverage provided by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act also extends to prairie falcons.

Violating the Prineville District closure orders can lead to a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 12 months, or both. Convictions under the protection acts listed above can be much more severe. BLM will lift closures earlier if biologists determine a nest is not occupied or the young have left the nest.

More information about these closures as well as maps of closure areas can be found on the Alerts/Notices section of the Prineville BLM website, http://www.blm.gov/or/districts/prineville/index.php

or by calling the Prineville BLM office at (541) 416-6700.

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