Vermont cliffs closed to protect nesting falcons
VERMONT — Forest Service officials in Vermont have announced that two prominent cliff sites on the Green Mountain National Forest’s (GMNF) Rochester and Middlebury Ranger Districts have been temporarily closed in order to provide protection and critical nesting habitat for peregrine falcons.
Peregrine falcon populations, which suffered a massive decline in the 1940s due to the use of DDT, have made a significant comeback in recent years. Even though peregrines are considered a recovered species in Vermont, it is critical to minimize human disturbance to nest sites so that the species’ recovery continues. The bird is prominently featured on Vermont’s conservation license plate.
Each spring the Forest Service closes the Rattlesnake Cliff Area in Salisbury and the Mount Horrid/Great Cliff Area in Rochester from March 15-Aug. 1.
Forest Service employees have posted signs in these areas to alert the public and let them know that the trails to the cliff overlooks are closed. Officials want to remind forest users that disturbance of peregrine falcons and/or these nesting grounds is a violation of federal law and may result in a fine up to $5,000 and six months in jail. The Forest Service encourages the public to report any harassment of nesting peregrine falcons to 1-800-75ALERT as soon as possible.
The Forest Service works closely with the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, Audubon Vermont and other nonprofit organizations to enhance the health, safety and habitat of peregrine falcons.
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