The BLM announces annual avoidance areas to protect raptors in the Indian Creek Special Recreation Management Area


Monticello Field Office

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Monticello Field Office

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MONTICELLO, Utah – Each spring, raptors return to the Indian Creek area for nesting. Eagles, falcons, hawks, and other migratory birds use shallow depressions on ledges, cliffs, and rock walls to build nests, often returning to the same site year after year to raise their young. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) asks visitors and recreationists to avoid these areas during critical nesting periods, which typically start in early March and last through late August. The BLM asks visitors to avoid recreational activity in the vicinity of the nest sites along the Indian Creek corridor and maintain a safe viewing distance.

“These avoidance areas and timeframes serve an important role in protecting the Bears Ears landscape, including these raptors,” said Monticello Field Manager Jacob Palma. “Everyone working together will help ensure survival of young birds in Indian Creek.”

Beginning March 1, the public is asked to avoid climbing in areas that are historically known to have raptor nesting activity or have a high potential for nesting. Areas that have potential nesting activity are referred to in many climbing guidebooks as: The Wall, Far Side, The Meat Walls, Cliffs of Insanity, Public Service Wall, Disappointment Cliffs, Fin Wall, Broken Tooth, Cat Wall, Slug Wall, and Reservoir Wall. While this list serves as a guide, it does not indicate every avoidance area or encompass all known names of the affected climbing areas. Please refer to the provided “Raptor Protection Map” to identify avoidance areas. The BLM is coordinating these raptor protection efforts with the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, who is the administrator of the climbing areas known as Disappointment Cliffs and portions of the Second Meat Wall climbing area. 

In March, BLM biologists will begin the annual surveys of raptor activity to verify which historic nest sites are being used. Typically, by late April or early May, biologists can identify the nesting areas the raptors have selected. At that time, the areas without active nests will be cleared for recreational use. The BLM asks climbers, campers, and hikers to completely avoid areas with active nests until the young birds have fledged, which is usually by late summer. Biologists will monitor nesting activity throughout the season and keep the recreation community informed of potential changes. Avoidance area notices and maps will be posted throughout the Indian Creek Corridor during the recreation season. 

While falcons and eagles are not overly common sights in southeastern Utah, they are present throughout the Indian Creek area. Keen-eyed observers are sometimes rewarded with their aerial acrobatics. Visitors can watch adult birds hunt or observe the antics of young raptors perfecting their flying techniques. In Utah, these species continue to recover, thanks in part to cooperation from the public, climbing communities and governmental partners. The BLM would like to remind the public there are private land holdings throughout the Indian Creek Corridor. Please respect private landowners’ boundaries and signage.

For questions about these avoidance areas, raptors, and migratory bird habitat in the Monticello area, please contact Melissa Wardle, Wildlife Biologist, with the BLM Monticello Field Office at 435-587-1500.  

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.