The BLM lifts voluntary climbing avoidance areas in Indian Creek
MONTICELLO, Utah — As of today, the BLM lifted seasonal climbing avoidance areas in the Indian Creek corridor. The agency welcomes the public to use the climbing walls and areas within the Indian Creek corridor that were previously included in the voluntary avoidance areas to benefit raptors.
“We sincerely thank the climbers, general recreation community and our partners who avoided using specific climbing walls in the Indian Creek area and helped spread the word about the avoidance areas. Your efforts helped provide a successful nesting environment for the raptors.” said Monticello Field Manager Jake Palma. “As seasonal visitation to the area increases, we remind the public to practice Leave No Trace, avoid touching cultural sites or imagery and keep a safe distance from wildlife in the area.”
Each spring, the BLM Monticello Field Office asks the public to voluntarily avoid routes near historic nesting sites in Indian Creek. This year the BLM confirmed nesting and territory activity on several walls. Minimizing disturbances during crucial egg incubation and brood rearing periods for peregrine falcons, eagles and other raptors is critical to successfully rearing young. BLM staff, including a wildlife biologist, monitored active nests throughout the spring and summer and documented successful fledgling of several peregrine chicks in two different nests. They also confirmed the range-wide absence of golden eagle nesting, which they believe is due to drought and lack of prey.
Peregrine falcons are remarkable birds that nest and hunt in the cliffs surrounding Indian Creek. They can fly up to 70 miles per hour and reach up to 200 miles per hour in free fall dives. However, despite their speed and agility, peregrine populations were in steep decline during the mid-20th century, and in the United States, the birds became an endangered species. Today, they have rebounded strongly since the use of DDT and other chemical pesticides have been curtailed. Though no longer listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, the peregrine falcon is still a protected species. Voluntarily avoiding climbing routes with historical and active nests helps protect raptors and reduces the need for mandatory restrictions.
At the time of this new release, State Route 211, the primary access route to Indian Creek is closed due to flood-damage, so visitors to the area are required to use an alternative route. To access Indian Creek and the Needles District of Canyonlands, the public should navigate to Monticello, Utah, and turn west onto 200 South at the Monticello Visitor Center. Continue on this road (which is known as Harts Draw) as it climbs up along the eastern side Abajo Mountains for approximately 18.5 miles. This road will then meet State Route 211, turn left to access Indian Creek and the Needles District of Canyonlands.
For questions about raptors, please contact wildlife biologist Melissa Wardle. For questions about climbing and recreation in the Indian Creek area, please contact outdoor recreation planner Jason Byrd. Both may be contacted at the 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.