Yosemite’s Famed Flock Causes ClosuresBackpacking & Trekking, California, Destinations, Health & Safety, North America, Planning, Tours & Attractions, Wildlife & Animals — By Lost Girls on July 23, 2012 at 6:00 am
During the year, roads and trails of Yosemite National Park are often closed due to natural hazards such as fire, rockslides and extreme weather. This time, however, the primary reason for closures in the park is due to endangered peregrine falcons nesting along popular cliffs frequented by climbers.
At the time of publishing, primary areas closed are the Rostrum, Hetch Hetchy, Middle Cathedral Rock, Yosemite Point and El Capitan Southwest Face. Other closures that have recently been lifted are Rhombus Wall, Half Dome South Face, Glacier Point east side, Kolana Rock, El Capitan Southeast Face, the B.O.L.T. Wall and portions of the Arch Rock Area. Regulations are also in place limiting noisy aircraft traffic in the area to only rescue operations and other emergency traffic.
Park officials have taken various measures to protect other endangered wildlife before. In the past, they’ve used electronic monitoring to ensure bears stay away from populated areas and have also sanctioned buffers around nests of endangered great gray owls. However, the falcons have received the most protection for the past few years, and now, their population seems to be thriving.
For those who fear that this bird business could interfere with their summer plans, they should worry not, as the closures are only temporary and are constantly changing. Alternate routes are available while many of the closed areas typically re-open only weeks after they’re closed. It is advisable to call ahead or check the parks’ website for updates before visiting during peak season.
Clocked at speeds up to 220 mph, this predatory bird has been an important symbol of speed and power, not only in America, but in other cultures as well. Horace, an Egyptian god, was a peregrine falcon. Falconry was the subject of some of the oldest Egyptian wall paintings, was a sport practiced in China before 2000 BC, and is the national animal of the United Arab Emirates. William Shakespeare was a falconry fan that introduced falconry terms (such as “Hag”), into popular speech.
Falcons help to keep the ecosystem in balance by preying on rodents and other pests that are a nuisance to farmers and city dwellers alike. These regal birds have become so cherished that there is even a beloved bed and breakfast motel called the Yosemite Peregrine B&B, also known as the Falcon’s Nest.
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