Area Closures Coming Soon to Granite Mountain and Thumb Butte

Prescott National Forest officials would like to give folks a heads up that they have three more weekends for climbing opportunities before the Forest implements restrictions on climbing and other activities on the cliff faces of both Granite Mountain and Thumb Butte on Monday, February 1st, 2021. Both sites have been consistently occupied by peregrines annually for more than 23 years. These annual closures provide the undisturbed setting and quality nesting habitat essential for peregrines to successfully raise their young.

The closures will begin February 1st and last until July 15th. For both locations, the closures will be the same as they have been for over 23 years. On Granite Mountain, it is prohibited to be upon any part of the Granite Mountain rock cliff face or the rim above the rock face and extending 100 feet back from the edge of the cliff face by rock climbing or any other means of access.  On Thumb Butte, both the north and south climbing faces, the top of Thumb Butte, and the areas at the base of the climbing faces will be closed to entry.  These area closures for the peregrine do not impact or close any system trails; Trails 33 at Thumb Butte and 261 in Granite Basin Recreation area will remain open for hiking.

Maps of the closed areas will be posted throughout both the Thumb Butte and Granite Basin Recreation Areas. The Prescott National Forest is asking local birders to share their field observations of peregrine falcons with our resource managers to provide a better picture of peregrine nesting progress. Please send observations, photos and information to Noel Fletcher at noel.fletcher@usda.gov.

Peregrine falcons were once listed under the Endangered Species Act. They continue to be managed under the protection of the Federal code of regulations as well as state and federal law.  Managers consider the needs of the peregrines and the recreation desires of people and the values of Granite Mountain Wilderness to strike a balance where people and birds can effectively use the same space at different times for their respective purposes.

If you have any questions about the peregrines and their management please feel free to email Noel Fletcher, Forest Wildlife Biologist at noel.fletcher@usda.gov .

Stay up to date on Prescott National Forest news by checking the Prescott NF website and following us on Facebook and Twitter.

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