Joshua Tree climbing area closed for raptor nesting
Joshua Tree National Park has put in place a temporary emergency closure of a climbing area known as the “Towers of Uncertainty,” located 2.5 miles of Geology Tour Road. The closure, which affects about 150 acres, is intended to limit disturbances to a pair of raptors nesting in the area.
“Many species of raptors are highly sensitive to disturbance during courtship and the nesting cycle,” George Land, a public information officer with the national park, wrote to the Desert Sun in an email. “Climbers near nesting sites can cause incubating birds to leave the nest thus exposing the eggs or young birds to stress.”
The pair appears to have finished constructing a nest, according to the park service. The closure will remain in effect until the nest has been abandoned to ensure the protection of the species, but the park service expects the closure to end by June 15, 2015.
The park service enacted a similar closure last year for a pair of red-tailed hawks. They have not released the species of this years nesting pair.